Welcome to the Immigration Welcoming Working Group (IWWG).

We’ll update materials on this page periodically.

Some background about the IWWG:

  • Began in approximately 2017.
  • Meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:00-7:30 pm.
  • 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 During November

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 Speak up about the cruel treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers. The Biden administration began ramping up deportation and expulsion flightsof Haitian migrants and asylum seekers using the unlawful and immoral Title 42 policy – a policy started under the Trump administration and continuously misused by the Biden administration. Urge the Biden administration to stop expulsions and restore asylum. SPONSOR: Church World Service.
  1. NEW Thank Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson. The sheriff has taken steps to separate his department’s activities from those of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). His actions, since June, include removing the ICE office from the Hennepin County Jail and limiting the use of immigration detainer warrants to hold people in jail who may otherwise be released. Hutchinson noted that these changes make residents of all backgrounds more comfortable reporting crime, which makes communities safer for everyone. We invite you to send a note of appreciation and support to Sheriff@hennepin.us. SPONSOR: MN Sanctuary State Coalition. A sample message might be:

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    Dear Sheriff Hutchinson,
    Thank you for the steps you have taken to separate Hennepin County law enforcement
    responsibilities from those of ICE. I support you in these efforts that are more just and that
    will make all our communities safer.

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  2. Tell Congress to support the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The agency remains in a precarious financial situation that requires significant engagement by the United States and fellow U.N. member states, and private donors, to undo years of financial harm. Contact your member of Congress to let them know you want your tax dollars to support UNRWA’s humanitarian work for Palestine refugees. SPONSOR:

 

  1. Ask President Biden to grant clemency to those who were sent home from prisons during the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit prisons, tens of thousands of people incarcerated in federal facilities were allowed to serve their sentences at home under the CARES Act. They have started planning futures, gotten jobs, signed leases, and reintegrated with their families and communities. Now over 4,000 of these individuals may be sent back because of a Trump memo issued right as he left office. President Biden has the power to prevent this impending crisis by granting them clemency. Tell him to act. SPONSOR:
  1. Take actions in support of our Afghan allies during this perilous time. Write a letter to President Biden concerning Afghans in dire need of refugee status, using Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services’ online guide to compose and send your message. Sign a petition to protect Afghan refugees, sponsored by RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. And write your Senator to support Afghans during U.S. withdrawal, sponsored by MoveOn.org.
  1. In the wake of a Texas judge’s order to partially end DACA, petition President Biden and Congress to create a path to citizenship, before the August congressional recess. The reconciliation package before Congress must protect undocumented people, including DACA recipients, TPS holders, farmworkers and essential workers. Sign a petition, or dial 832-610-3896 (or make a phone connection online) to speak with your Senator. SPONSOR: United We Dream.
  1. NEW Join a Dia de los Muertos prayer vigil. The vigil, at 6pm Monday, Nov. 1, on Zoom, honors those who unjustly lost their lives while held in immigration detention. Last year was the deadliest in ICE detention since 2005. Twenty-one people died, including eight from COVID. Dignity, human rights and opportunity should be at the core of our immigration system. Register to receive the Zoom link. SPONSOR: Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity & Detention Watch Network.
  1. NEW Attend “Democracy and Migration: Challenging Inequalities Across Borders.” Hear from experts who will examine the dynamics in Mexico, Central America and the United States, with an eye toward understanding the things that connect us and those that threaten to divide us. The forum will be held at noon Tuesday, Nov. 2, on Zoom. Learn more and register here. SPONSORS:org and Alianza Americas.
  1. NEW Join a monthly vigil to stand in support of immigrants and detainees, and in opposition to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) practices that dehumanize and terrorize. This month’s vigil will be held at 7:30am Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Whipple Federal Building in Bloomington. Contact John Humphrey if you wish to attend with someone or to arrange transportation. SPONSOR: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).
  1. NEW View an art exhibition, “Refuge,” in St. Paul. A highlight of the installation, which runs through Nov. 17, is an oil painting by Wendell Arneson, “Crossings,” which reveals, in the face of social injustice and exclusivity, a response to personal and global issues of memory, race, migration, journey and hope. The exhibition is hosted by the Concordia Gallery, 1301 Marshall Ave., St. Paul. SPONSOR: Concordia University.
  1. Plymouth’s Immigrant Welcoming Working Group is co-sponsoring a refugee family through the Minnesota Council of Churches. When we are assigned a family, we will need individuals and families ready to help set up an apartment and gather supplies for the family, as well as to help with cooking meals and other non-contact tasks when the family arrives. Getting ready will take many hands! Please email Joan Thompson, Erika Charlesworth-Seiler or Jerry Davis if you can help. Please send your email address and phone number so we can contact you when we receive notice of our family’s arrival.
  1. NEW A secondary opportunity to volunteer is with ICOM’s AID program. Volunteers are needed to help undocumented immigrants in a variety of ways, such as accompanying detainees or asylum seekers to court, helping intake clients or researching available community resources, such as food shelves and clothing, for clients. Contact Sara Adams for more details. SPONSOR: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).
  1. NEW Order from Café Justo. Coffee from Mexico that addresses poverty and migration—and tastes great—makes a smart holiday gift! Choose from five coffee options: 100% Arabica; 100% Robusto; 50% A and 50% R; 50% A and 50% Decaf; and 100% Decaf. Specify ground or whole bean; regular or dark roast; 1- (~$10) or 5-pound (~$40) packages. Please order by Sunday, Nov. 7, for delivery around Nov. 22. Payment (cash or check) due at time of delivery. For questions and to order, contact Gerald or Fran Davis at fandjontheroad@gmail.com.
  1. The Asylum Coalition for Transition – Twin Cities (ACT-TC) needs help furnishing a home for an asylum-seeking family who will be living at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Hopkins. ACT-TC is an informal group of interfaith congregations who are compelled by faith to actively befriend the stranger. You can donate needed items (new or gently used) or gift cards (Target or Cub) via SignUpGenius. Gift cards can be mailed to the church at 500 Blake Road South, Hopkins, MN 55343 (note the campaign). You can drop off donated items at the church Monday-Thursday during normal working hours, but please call 952-935-3457 to confirm someone is available to receive your donation. For questions, contact Paul Bohnsack at bohnsackps@frontiernet.net.
  1. Help the Green Valley – Sahuarita Samaritans put water in the desert, among other kind services for migrants. They are a worthy organization doing valuable work.
  1. Buy a handmade bordado from an Etsy shop and support women refugees.
  1. Support the Casa Alitas program, which serves migrant families who have left their home countries to escape violence and poverty by providing short-term shelter and help to reunite with family members in the United States.

Learning and Teaching

  1. Must the 50 states sort out what Congress cannot? Read this thought-provoking article, “Plan Z for Immigration,” on the idea of delegating immigration authority to the states, in The Atlantic.
  1. This toolkit on dismantling the detention industry is a great resource. After reading it, contact Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM) to find out how to help shut down (or at least improve the conditions in) the poorly run facility in Sherburne County.
  1. Talk about immigration with your family—whether you are an immigrant, an ally or beginning to learn about the U.S. immigration system. Download a free family conversation guide from RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
  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.
  1. Read the Center for Victims of Torture’snew backgrounder, “Arbitrary & Cruel: How U.S. Immigration Detention Violates the Convention against Torture and Other International Obligations,” which illustrates how the dehumanizing and cruel policies and practices in the immigration detention system violate the Convention against Torture, and makes the case that the system must be eliminated for the United States to comply with international law.
  1. Watch two short videos (one minute each) by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS): One shares a truly terrifying projection of 100,000 unaccompanied children at the U.S. Mexico border this year; the other is a lovely prayer for migrant children.
  1. Check out this beautiful and powerful “visual op-ed” (“cartoon” doesn’t do it justice!) on border wall construction.

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 Janine Sieja.