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Blessing Not Burden | May 29, 2019
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Church programming and school semesters are winding down, but the OSJ is on a roll this spring sharing immigration stories, challenging assumptions about what’s happening in immigration, and equipping churches to support and celebrate refugees. In this newsletter, you’ll find advocacy actions to take, blog and audio series to tune into, and special days in the OSJ and Church calendars to be a part of.

Support and Protect Our Iraqi Neighbors from Deportation

Approximately one thousand Iraqi nationals — including many Christians who would face persecution in Iraq — are facing deportation. H.R. 2537, the “Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities” Act, is a bipartisan bill that will provide deportation relief to certain Iraqi nationals to allow them more time to work on their immigration cases. If they haven’t done so already (check here), ask your Representative to cosponsor this bill!

“Immigration is Our Story” – Interview with Cuban Refugee, Cristina Aguilera

Born in Havana, Cuba, Cristina Aguilera fled with her family to the United States when she was just ten years old. “I had a very lovely, wonderful life,” she says, “but everything changed in 1959 when Castro took over the government and we had to flee as refugees.” Interviewed by her daughter and OSJ Immigration Mobilizer, Marissa Aguilera Saints, Cristina pours out her heart as she shares her honest and difficult immigration story. Listen to their story here!

“Seeing Beyond the Immigration Rhetoric” Do Justice Blog Series Starts June 7

Opinions tend to run high about the issues of immigration and refugee resettlement, but often our shared set of facts runs low. Immigration isn't just a political battleground or Facebook debate. Decisions about border security, refugee resettlement targets, detention, DACA, ICE…all affect our friends, neighbors, and fellow believers. So what's actually happening and how is the Church responding to it? We'll hear from immigrants and people working with immigrants from across the U.S. to get some answers. Subscribe to the blog here!

Engaging Learning on Immigration Across the U.S.

In the last couple months, OSJ has been busy mobilizing churches across the U.S. in education and advocacy on immigration. Colorado Mobilizer, Marissa Saints, and her colleague, Nii Armah Sowah, led a group in “Church Between Borders” workshops, discussion, and call-and-response song. Illinois mobilizer, Peter Zigterman, moderated a panel on the global refugee crisis, current immigration discourse and policies, and how the Christian community can respond. Thank you to our mobilizers for your great work engaging CRC and RCA churches in immigration this year!

Interested in hosting immigration learning, worship, and advocacy events in your congregation or community? Visit our immigration page to get started!

Celebrate World Refugee Day Using Our Updated Toolkit

The world may tell us to fear refugees, but Christians are called to be different. Christ came to a world that did not recognize him and he became a refugee himself; we are called to seek the face of God through the “strangers” he sends our way.

We’ve updated our toolkit to help you celebrate and remember refugees this World Refugee Day (June 20) with your church. Find worship resources, advocacy opportunities, ideas for connecting with your community, stories from CRC churches, and more at crcna.org/WorldRefugeeDay.

In Case You Missed It

  • Got plans on June 20th? Join the OSJ at Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids, MI for a celebration of the work you’ve helped us do! You’ll hear about justice at the border, how we’ve been mobilizing churches, and ways you can join us for further immigration advocacy in the future! Bring a friend and see you there! Buy your tickets here.
  • On May 7, the 9th Circuit Court decided to uphold the “Remain in Mexico” policy, meaning the government can continue sending asylum-seekers back to Mexico. Asylum petitioners have a right to stay in the U.S. while they pursue their asylum claims. If you haven’t done so already, please urge the Department of Homeland Security to rescind this harmful policy here.
  • Immigration enforcement doesn’t only happen at the border, it happens in Middle-America, where immigrant labor is greatly needed. Hear from employers, faith leaders, lawmakers, and immigrants themselves in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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.

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