Blessing Not Burden | August 29, 2019
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The month of August is an important time for advocacy. With members of congress back in their home districts, constituents have had the opportunity to engage with policymakers on what’s important to them about immigration. Read on to hear about this month’s congressional meetings, training of our regional immigration mobilizers, and voices from the border which inform and enhance our advocacy this month and into the future.

Urge Congress to Protect Asylum Seekers and the Asylum Process

DHS unveiled new regulations that would end an agreement that protects immigrant children and families from prolonged detention. Additionally, the Trump administration issued a rule that would bar most migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. while current asylum-seekers and other migrants remain in inhumane detention conditions at the border. Ask your Members of Congress to extend hospitality to the vulnerable by protecting asylum seekers and the asylum process.

Immigration Regional Organizers’ Training in Tijuana and San Diego

Our immigration regional organizers are now even more prepared to help people in your congregation deepen their understanding of immigration through education, worship, advocacy, and building connections with immigrants!

Thanks to a partnership with the Reformed Church in America (RCA), OSJ contracts regional organizers around the U.S.

—Peter in Chicago, Illinois
—Rose in Pella, Iowa
—Jason in Northwest Iowa
—Marissa in Denver, Colorado
—Vanessa in Southern California

This month, they traveled to San Diego, California and Tijuana, Baja California for a training on how to better engage congregations around the topic of immigration and to meet with the pastors and leaders of a church in Tijuana that has a ministry to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Check out some of the pictures of our trip on facebook here!

How the U.S. Immigration System Works Video

We often hear the question: “Why don’t undocumented immigrants just get in line to immigrate legally?” This 15-minute video explains what those lines or avenues for legal immigration to the U.S. are, who can get in them (and who can’t), and how long it takes to get through those lines.

There are essentially four avenues or “lines” to immigrate or move to the U.S. to live and work there permanently: the family preference line, the employment-based line, the refugee and asylum case line, and the diversity visa lottery line.

Opinions tend to run high about the issue of immigration, but often our shared set of facts runs low. If we’re going to think faithfully about immigration, it’s important that we share an understanding of how immigration works today—and maybe dispel some myths or misunderstandings that we didn’t even know we had.

Watch the video on our facebook page here!

A Letter from Ciudad Juarez

We received this letter from Pastor Samuel Lopez in Ciudad Juarez and Pastor Angel Lopez in West Michigan about their ministry to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Together, these brothers are working to connect brothers and sisters in Christ to address the border crisis as one body. In this letter updating faith partners about the ministry, you will see the need to provide humanitarian aid, but also the urgent importance of changing policies that harm asylum-seekers and those supporting them.

Read the letter on our Do Justice blog here.

August Recess Congressional Meetings Across the U.S.

Isaiah Cruz, a Master of Divinity Candidate at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, AL, reached out to the OSJ about arranging a meeting with his members of congress. With the help of our immigration team, Isaiah mobilized his classmates to meet with Rep. Gary Palmer about protecting our country’s commitment to asylum and refugee resettlement. Thank you, Isaiah, for using your faith witness to advocate for welcoming immigration policy!

Change the Conversation/In Case You Missed It

  • Christian Reformed Church in North America statement regarding the mass shootings that occurred on August 23.
  • La Terza Coffee: Blessing not Burden Blend - For a limited time, all profits from the retail sales of this direct-trade, Honduran coffee will fund the “Immigrants Are a Blessing Not a Burden” campaign. Learn more and buy the coffee here!
  • And Social Justice for All: Empowering Families, Churches, and Schools to Make a Difference in God's World - This newly published book is “a valuable resource that parents, educators, church leaders, and anyone who wants to guide children in the ways of justice can return to again and again for spiritual direction, information, and practical guidance.” Learn more about it here!
  • NW Iowa Regional Immigration Mobilizer, Jason Lief, wrote a reflection on his experience with us in Tijuana and the harms of immigrant detention in the Reformed Journal’s, “The Twelve:” Why Detaining Immigrant Families Will Not Work.

We've been working hard to spread the truth about the blessings of immigrants in our country and to counter myths that have the power to turn into policy that harms our immigrant brothers and sisters.

We can’t do it without you. Help continue this important work.