Welcome to the

Immigrant Justice Committee

Some background:

  • Began in approximately 2017.
  • Formerly called the Immigrant Welcoming Working Group (IWWG).
  • Meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
  • Our purpose is to live out our faith by caring for immigrants through education, advocacy, and service.
  • Anyone can join the group who’s interested in learning more about service to immigrants. Members do not have to members of Plymouth, and there is no term limit.
  • Please refer to our annual plan for more specifics.

Support Immigrants

How You Can Help

Witnessing God’s love for all people, we stand with and advocate for immigrants through partnership, direct action, education, and support for local immigrants, as well as related organizations.

As part of our advocacy program, the Immigrant Welcoming Work Group compiles actions and local events held in support of immigrants and immigration issues. We urge you to perform some of these actions and/or attend some of the events! Content is updated monthly.

If you take any action listed in this summary, please notify Tom Haigh, jthaigh45 (at) gmail.com, for tracking purposes. If you have content for future updates, please submit to Janine Sieja, janinesieja (at) gmail.com.

  1. NEW Sign the petition to tell President Biden that asylum is a legal right.  The Biden administration has implemented a policy that will unlawfully deny asylum to people seeking protection at the southern border who don’t first wait to apply for asylum in Mexico or other countries they passed through — despite the fact that many of these countries don’t have working asylum systems.  SPONSOR:  ACLU

https://action.aclu.org/petition/tell-biden-seeking-asylum-legal-right?ms=200204_sotu_messageaction-igstory_ig&initms=200204_sotu_messageaction-igstory_ig&ms_aff=nat&initms_aff=nat&ms_chan=soc&initms_chan=soc&utm_campaign=sotu,sotu&utm_medium=soc,soc&utm_source=ig,ig&utm_content=200204_immigration_messageaction-igstory&redirect=asylum

  1. Sign a petition to insist that migrant children not be forced into exploitative labor and instead be treated with dignity and grace. SPONSOR:  National Immigration Forum

https://p2a.co/d0HUxXB

  1. Unlike in our criminal legal system, there is no public defender system for people currently facing the threat of deportation. The Fairness to Freedom campaignis a national movement dedicated to changing this cruel system.  SPONSOR:  Vera Institute of Justice

 

  1. Sign up to get news and take action to make Minnesota a sanctuary state. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScFb70QWgLp0W0QexKgKUDRmZxU-FuY70ouv0n1eSrhFkYzcA/viewform SPONSOR:  Minnesota Sanctuary State Coalition.
  1. Tell the Department of Homeland Security to reunite immigrant families. During the Trump administration, the government systematically separated 5,500 families arriving in the United States. Not all have been reunited—the parents of hundreds of children have still not been found—and the trauma inflicted on these families is everlasting. Submit your comment telling the Biden administration to make reunification an urgent priority. SPONSOR: ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
  1. Ask Congress to support Afghan refugees’ path to permanent residency. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been welcomed into the United States via “humanitarian parole.” Congress is negotiating legislation to fund an Afghan Adjustment Act within the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to ensure these refugees have a path to becoming lawful permanent residents beyond their temporary immigration status. Contact members of Congress to ensure safety for Afghan refugees. SPONSOR: Church World Service.
    1. Join a monthly vigilto stand in support of immigrants and detainees, and in opposition to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) practices that dehumanize and terrorize. The next vigil will be held at 7:30am Tuesday, September 12, at the Whipple Federal Building at Fort Snelling, the regional ICE headquarters for the five-state area and the site of both immigrant detention facilities and an immigration court. People of any faith and no particular faith are invited to join in an hour of prayer and song, hosted by a rotating cast of faith communities and social justice groups.  Guest speakers provide attendees with concrete opportunities to show solidarity with detainees and to oppose inhumane detention practices.

    Every Second Tuesday of the Month

    7:30 to 8:30 am

    Bishop Henry Whipple Building, 1 Federal Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55111

    The event will also be livestreamed on Facebook. Contact Jerry Davis ( fandjontheroad@gmail.com ) if you wish to attend with someone or to arrange transportation.

    SPONSOR: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).

  1. ICOM needs a volunteer to coordinate vigilson an alternating basis (i.e.
    every other month) with Joy Nelson.  ICOM provides a vigil template (when needed), the network of faith communities and organizational partners who can host, and the resources to publicize, broadcast, and record the event.  The commitment is three to five hours every other month (depending on the intricacy of the vigil and resources of the host organization).  Contact Joy Nelson at joynelson92@yahoo.com if you’re able to volunteer and / or want to know more.  SPONSOR: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).
  1. ICOM AID is looking for volunteers to help in many different ways: driving, shopping, accompaniment to medical or legal proceedings, ….  People can contact Sara Adams,adamssara430@gmail.com, for more information.
  1. People can become active supporting MIRAC,https://www.miracmn.com/, particularly their Immigrant Power Now Campaign in Minneapolis, https://www.miracmn.com/current-campaigns.
  1. The Decriminalizing Communities Campaign is led by Jewish Community Action, https://www.jewishcommunityaction.org/decriminalizing-communities. They are pushing for separation ordinances in both Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.
  1. Help Keep Tucson Togetherbond members of the immigrant community out of immigration detention – no one should be separated from their family simply for seeking safety in the U.S. or for overstaying a visa. Keep Tucson Together has helped bond out 194 members of the immigrant community in the past three years.  SPONSOR:  Green Valley – Sahuarita Samaritans.

https://gofund.me/087ad5b8

Immigration Sunday

Pre-event Friday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.
Special film: Border of Dreams

The documentary Border of Dreams (40 minutes) will be shown at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Jackman Hall at Plymouth. Registration is not required, and people are encouraged to attend this showing, which tells the stories of two families who attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border and the aftermath of their attempts. The documentary is a collaborative effort produced by students from Bethel University in Arden Hills and Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City. There will be coffee and a discussion following the showing. Please enter Door #1 (1919 LaSalle Ave).

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Immigration Sunday will be hosted by Plymouth’s Immigrant Welcoming Working Group (IWWG) on Sunday, Feb. 25, with a series of activities that morning as well as on the Friday evening before, Feb. 23.

Immigration Sunday activities are designed to elevate members’ understanding of immigration issues. The IWWG was formed six years ago with the expressed purpose “to live out our faith by caring for immigrants through education, advocacy and service.”

Activities include:

  • Worship services at 9 and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, will feature an immigration theme in the music, Bible text, sermon, and prayers. There will also be information tables in Jones Commons hosted by various Twin Cities groups active in immigration issues and immigrant support. Stop by to see how you can get involved.
  • The special art exhibit in Jones Commons during February, Uncaged Art, is a display of artwork by immigrant children created during a period of detention at the Mexico/Texas border.
  • The Sunday Forum on Feb. 25 will be held at 10 a.m. in the Chapel. The featured topic will be the North STAR Act, a bill soon to be before the Minnesota Legislature in support of safety, trust and respect for our immigrant population in Minnesota. The North STAR Act will seek to diminish the fear and uncertainty under which so many immigrants live. It would allow immigrants to utilize public services locally and within the state without the fear of being reported to federal authorities or deported for minor infractions. Forum speakers will include Minnesota State Senator Omar Fateh, the bill’s chief Minnesota Senate author who represents District 62 in south/central Minneapolis, and Adriana Cerrillo, who is on the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education representing District 4 and the lead organizer for the North STAR Alliance.

Organizers for this year’s Immigration Sunday activities include John Humphrey, Mary Kay Sauter, Tom Haigh, Bill Read, and Erika Charlesworth-Seiler.

LEARNING AND TEACHING

  1. View/listen to slideshow/sermon. Jes Ahlemeier went on the 2023 Plymouth border trip to Arizona.  She gathered photos from many of the attendees and created a slide show synced to the audio of Seth Patterson’s sermon “Presente!”  based on his attendance and participation in that trip.  Here is the *PresentePhotoVideo to watch or share!  *Watch it on a computer — the audio doesn’t seem to work on a cell phone…
  1. View/listen to podcasts from Plymouth’s 2023 Arizona trip. Hosts Laurie Beth Fitz and Rick Bernardo join Reverend Doctor Delle McCormick along with Plymouth Congregational Church’s Nancy Lee and John Humphrey for part 1 of: “Love Thy Neighbor: Forging connections in our disconnected Americas.”

www.facebook.com/AM950Radio/videos/1230231327860572
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu_2-PB0ff8

Part 2 with Rick, Betsy Cussler, Seth Patterson, and Randy Mayer:

www.facebook.com/AM950Radio/videos/746446037268598

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPrDB_5Mjns

  1. Listen to a podcast from Dora Rodriguez who was once an asylum seeker.She escaped the death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s during the U.S.-backed civil war. On her journey to the United States, her group was abandoned in the Sonoran Desert south of Tucson, Arizona. Thirteen people traveling with her died, and Rodriguez barely survived.

Since then, she’s devoted her life to social work and to helping migrants in the Sonoran Desert, where she nearly perished. In this podcast, Rodriguez talks about the migrant resource center called Casa de la Esperanza which she helped open last year in the Mexican border community of Sásabe, Sonora MX. She talks about her own history, her nonprofit Salvavision, and the current situation at the border with Title 42 and other policies endangering asylum seekers’ lives. And she talks about how humanitarian work, which can take a physical and emotional toll, sustains her year after year. “There are some days that are painful,” she said. “There are tears. What keeps me going is to see the people behind me doing this work, and I know I’m not alone.”   SPONSOR:  The Border Chronicles

https://www.theborderchronicle.com/p/i-was-an-asylum-seeker-now-i-help?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email#details

  • Watch any or all of four videos from the Legal Studies trip from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The Arizona border trip was in June of 2021. They are all good and professionally done including drone shots. They include trips with Humane Borders and Alvaro Enciso and a visit to the Casa de Esperanza in Sasabe. We have been asked NOT to post these or use them publicly. We are welcome to view them and share them privately since they are making the film festival circuit and in various competitions.  SPONSOR: Green Valley Sahuarita Samaritans.

http://Vimeo.com/cdlvideo/crosses1

https://vimeo.com/cdlvideo/crosses2

https://vimeo.com/cdlvideo/crosses3

https://vimeo.com/cdlvideo/crosses4

  1. Read a short but well-thought-out and thoughtful articulationof faith-based principles for immigration reform: https://nomoredeaths.org/about-no-more-deaths/faith-based-principles-for-immigration-reform/SPONSOR:  No More Deaths
  1. Immigration is a complicated issue. It’s helpful to have some background, and a great start is to watch the video “U.S. Immigration – The Basics”by Alyson Ball. She is a Samaritan, working with asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in Arizona and Virginia. Ball keeps up-to-date on immigration issues and gives presentations throughout the United States. This 53-minute video will get you acquainted with basic immigration history, law and practice. SPONSOR:  Green Valley – Sahuarita Samaritans.

If you take any action listed in this summary, please notify Tom Haigh for tracking purposes. If you have content for future updates, please submit to John Humphrey.