SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS

How You Can Help During April 2021

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. NEWAsk your state representative to support the Sanctuary State Bill (H.F. 1919). This bill would require that state law enforcement resources not be used to enforce civil immigration law, thus making our communities safe and more welcoming. Find your legislator’s contact information. SPONSOR: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).
  1. NEWTell the Biden administration to stop deportations. The petition requests stays of removal for individuals facing deportation, the closure of detention facilities, separating policing from mass deportation, and the decriminalization of immigration. SPONSOR: We Are Home, a coalition of immigrant rights organizations.
  1. Tell your state legislator to supportrelief for immigrants and refugees with old convictions. The Post-Conviction Relief Bill (H.F. 833) creates a pathway for people whose records would have triggered immediate consequences such as deportation to be reviewed by a judge. SPONSOR: Coalition of Asian American Leaders.
  1. Demand that the Biden administrationreunite families in the United States who have been forcibly separated and provide relief—find the missing parents, provide immediate protections, establish resources, make systemic changes and hold those responsible accountable. Families deserve citizenship, care and a commitment that it will never happen again. SPONSOR:
  1. Tell President Biden toaddress root causes and respect the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. U.S. policies have contributed to the conditions that force thousands of people in northern Central America and Mexico to migrate. The Biden administration can reverse those polices and help transform conditions so people can live with dignity in the community they freely choose. SPONSOR: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
  1. Ask Congress to support citizenship for undocumented immigrant people. The U.S. Citizenship Act creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented and under-documented people. The bill also prioritizes keeping families together and reuniting family members who were separated. Ask your senators and representatives to vote for this important and long-overdue bill. SPONSOR:
  1. Review your investments to ensure they align with your values. Are you supporting corporations that profit from private prisons and detention centers, or violate worker rights in other countries? Learn to discern. SPONSOR: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
  1. Donate to a spring food drive for immigrants sponsored by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC). Donations will be used to purchase grocery store gift cards to feed immigrant families impacted by COVID.
  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.
  1. Support the Kino Border Initiative, a multi-faith center for immigrants in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The center offers 380 beds for immigrant women and children. The estimated immigrant population on the streets in Nogales is 3,500.

How Can I Learn More?

      1. Watch three segments from PBS NewsHour on migrants journeying through the Darien Gap, a vast jungle at the juncture of Colombia and Panama, and the only area the Trans American Highway does not cross. Combined, the segments take about 30 minutes to view and provide an important story about migration and government policy.
      1. Watch a video of the Migrant March to End the Wait. Asylum-seeking families marched in the streets of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico asking for an end to the harmful border policy that denies them entry into the United States, presented by the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) and the Kino Border Initiative.
      1. Learn to build persuasive messaging for defunding ICE and Customs and Border Protection. The American Friends Service Committee shares tips for communicating with lawmakers, writing letters to the editor, and talking with friends and family about cutting the budgets of these harmful agencies.
      1. Read how faith leaders nationwide have responded to Biden’s immigration actions and proposals, presented by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
      1. Read an excellent three-art report by No More Deaths and La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos on how the Border Patrol is responsible for a significant number of deaths at our border.
      1. Check out a wealth of current information on what’s happening on the U.S.-Mexico border, presented by Alliance 4 Action.
      1. See the Connection Between Migration and Handcrafts in “Migrant Women Fleeing Violence Find Beauty and Healing in Embroidery,” in America: A Jesuit Review.
      1. Attend a Recorded Virtual Sunday Forum, “What Muslim Americans Would Like You to Know About Islam,” featuring Imam Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, who serves at Brooklyn Park Islamic Center and is a Professor of Global Studies at Minneapolis College, and Abdifaah Ali, a member of the Brooklyn Park Islamic Center and a student at St. Cloud State University. Details and a link to watch are posted on Plymouth’s Sunday Forum page; scroll down to the Dec. 6 Forum recording.

 

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.

 

Book Review

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Coffee House Press, 2017) and Lost Children Archive (Vintage Books, 2020), both by Valeria Luiselli

Reviewed by Joan Thompson

As headlines once again fill with news of unaccompanied minors at our southern border, Valeria Luiselli’s work reminds us of headlines from 2014-2015 when the Obama administration was dealing with a similar situation. Her two books, one non-fiction and the other a novel, give context to these surges and raise important questions for readers.

Tell Me How It Ends is Luiselli’s nonfiction exploration of the experience of unaccompanied minors who cross our border. Her family had taken a vacation in the Southwest while waiting for green cards and learned more about child migrants on the way. When Luiselli’s green card and work permit are delayed, she volunteers as an interpreter in New York City’s federal immigration court. This book results from her experience interviewing child migrants seeking asylum.

Luiselli offers readers a meditation on the questions asked of children and on our immigration policy, reminding us that these policies have been an issue under multiple presidents’ administrations. She offers important background on push factors, the dangers of the journey, challenges posed by gangs, treatment by ICE, and handling by the courts. Once Luiselli has her green card, she begins teaching a Hofstra University where her students start a group to assist migrant children and youth on Long Island with integration into society. The book presents well-researched facts on child migration enriched by Luiselli’s experiences, both in immigration court and the classroom.

In her powerful novel Lost Children Archive, Luiselli again returns to the world of migrant children, using what she has learned in immigration court and connecting migration to a family’s experience on a road trip. The mother in the novel focuses on her marriage possibly failing as she moves deeper into her research on migrant children and the dangers they face. Her stepson’s voice balances hers as he is the oldest child and realizes that his parents are growing apart and that he may lose his stepsister as a result.

The family’s car is full of books important to the parents’ interests, one focusing on seven migrating children. The stories of the migrant children and the sight of children being placed on a deportation flight near Roswell, New Mexico, become central to the boy’s worries, which lead him to make a dangerous decision, one that moves the book from realism to allegory.

The novel uses an innovative structure and shifting points of view to tell a double story that converges in a twenty-page chapter consisting of one magnificent sentence. It also uses bankers’ boxes full of books and Polaroid photos in a meditation on displacement and migration.

Both of Luiselli’s books offer meditations on child migration, both the reasons behind it and the problems the United States has had addressing the issue. They are rich in well-researched information and innovative writing.