UUA Immigration News
December 2011: Keeping Immigrant Families Together—A Call to Act
Dear Immigrant Justice Leaders,
Keeping immigrant families together is something that we need to work for community by community. Across the country, UUs and other faith and immigrant rights leaders, are saying no to breaking up families in our communities. Below you’ll find a new resource to assist you in this ministry, an online action you can take with congress, and a great report from the Conejo Valley UU Fellowship in Newbury Park CA about their witness to keep families together. Lastly, read about a new action in solidarity with the people in Phoenix, AZ from the UUA.
New Resource: A new Congregational Toolkit for Immigration Advocacy in Our Communities is now available and a webinar on how to use it will be held on Monday, Jan. 9th at 3:30 pm Eastern. Please Mark Your Calendars! (Check the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) website when the date gets closer for details). The Congregational Toolkit includes: Strategy to Stop Secure Communities; What You Can Do in your Community; Bringing the Faith Message; and How to Organize an Advocacy Meeting with local officials. Download from the website. (See the blog post by Rev. Craig Roshaven, Director of Witness Ministies, who developed this resource along with the IIC and our partners at the National Day Laborer Organzing Network.)
Take Action: Please join us in supporting the HELP Separated Children Act, H.R. 2607 that will stop the practices of tearing children away from their parents. The bill mandates safeguards in the process of detaining undocumented workers by providing caseworkers to interview the detainees to determine if they are parents or caregivers and requiring phone calls between parents and children and parents and child welfare agencies. Learn more about H.R. 2607 and contact your elected officials now! You can send a message to your Members of Congress through Standing on the Side of Love’s online form.
Best Practice: From Rev. Dr. Betty Stapleford, Minister Emerita of Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Newbury Park, CA and Directors' Board of CLUE-Ventura County, CA.
Members of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of Ventura County (CLUE VC) and the New Sanctuary Movement gathered with others in Oxnard, CA on December 10th to provide support for immigrant families who are being faced with the very real possibility that one or both parents will be (or have been) deported. These deportations result in children being separated from one or both of their parents and often being placed in foster care.
The Posadas, a reenactment of the Latin American tradition portraying the attempts by Mary and Joseph to find shelter was staged. Portraying the biblical story, the holy family was turned away from numerous inns until they are finally welcomed. But this Posadas, along with many modern-day presentations in other locations in the United States, substituted contemporary examples to illustrate the plight of current immigrants. The first "inn" that was closed to the Mary and Joseph was barred by immigration agents. The second "inn" was blocked by Congress, keeping immigrant students from their right to education. The door of the third "inn" was opened to them by people of justice and goodwill who welcomed them to a place of hope and celebration. Read the full story here.
UUA Joins with Religious Groups to Demand End to Arizona Human Rights Abuses: As part of the UUA's ongoing immigration rights ministry, on Monday the UUA delivered a letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General Eric Holder of the U.S. Department of Justice. Co-signed by 14 religious and secular organizations, the letter demands government investigation into the human rights abuses carried out by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his staff. Read the complete letter here.
As always, let us know what is happening in your congregation and community, what you need, and how we can help. We hope your holidays are a renewing time for you and your justice ministries.
Audra, Craig, Dan, Kat, Meredith, Susan, and Taquiena
UUA Witness Ministries staff