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Blessing Not Burden | April 25, 2019
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It’s been a busy month of advocacy and bearing witness on immigration. From the U.S. southern border to your own cities, there have been numerous opportunities to advocate, speak out, and intercede for our immigrant brothers and sisters in Christ. In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find several action items, hopeful immigration stories, and the experiences of people of faith at the border.

Ask Congress for Long-Term
Solutions in Central America

The administration plans to cut off foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This money has funded development and humanitarian aid organizations - like our partners at the Association for a More Just Society - who are seeking to address the root causes of violence, poverty, and migration. These cuts will only further destabilize the region, driving more refugees to seek safety.

Ask your Member of Congress to sign onto Reps. Sires and Torres’ letter urging the State Dept. to reverse its decision to cut aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras!

‘Witness at the Border’ Week with Interdenominational Delegation in El Paso, TX and Washington, DC

Our Justice Mobilization Specialist, Melissa Stek, had the opportunity to travel to the U.S. southern border in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico with an interdenominational delegation this month. The group met with churches providing humanitarian aid to asylum-seekers, toured an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ‘ICE’) detention facility, and witnessed firsthand the impacts of the administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. The delegation concluded their week in Washington, D.C. to advocate with members of congress on what they witnessed at the border.

If you’d like to financially support one of our church partners (Frontera de Gracia Church, Ciudad Juárez) providing aid and shelter to asylum-seekers, please reach out to Melissa Stek (mstek@crcna.org) for more information.

Launch of the “Immigration is Our Story” Audio Series

The Christian Reformed Church was established by immigrants. The OSJ has collected stories through recorded interviews of CRC and RCA members' immigration stories to remind us of where many of us came from and what we have in common with today's immigrants. You'll hear stories from individuals across North America that came here from across the world.

Here is the Do Justice blog post that explains and introduces the series. Here is the first interview with Henri and John Admiraal, brothers who immigrated from the Netherlands to East Palmyra, New York in 1956. Thank you to our immigration mobilizer, Peter Zigterman, for interviewing these two! Listen in and join us in taking back the narrative about immigrants!

Seeing Beyond the Immigration Rhetoric

Coming soon! Beginning early next month, Do Justice will be featuring some of our immigration mobilizers in a series called, “Seeing Beyond the Immigration Rhetoric.” Join us for this blog series to learn what’s really happening in immigration around the U.S. and how the Church is responding to it.

Help Stop the Deportation of Our Iraqi Neighbors!

Approximately one thousand Iraqi nationals living in the U.S. -- including many Christians who would face religious persecution in Iraq -- are now at risk of deportation. We invite you to speak out against the injustice they will face by being deprived of due process and facing the threat of persecution.

Ask the White House to grant Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to our Iraqi neighbors to give them time to reopen their immigration cases, and encourage Congress to support this designation!

Change the Conversation/In Case You Missed It

  • Mark you calendars! OSJ is hosting a celebration of our work and your support of it in Grand Rapids, MI on June 20. Join us for appetizers, drinks, giveaways, advocacy opportunities, and stories on what we’ve been up to. Get your tickets here!
  • One of our immigration mobilizers, Jason Lief, hosts a podcast called, “Lumberjack Theology.” Tune into his recent conversation with Di Daniels about her experience volunteering at the U.S. southern border. It is a rich discussion on faith, immigration, and politics, including a shout-out to the work of the OSJ!
  • We stand with the many faith communities that have opposed the administration's decision to ban immigrants from seven countries, including five Muslim-majority countries. Ask your members of congress to take a stand for our shared value of freedom of religion by supporting the "NO BAN Act." Write to Congress here.
  • Prayer for refugees and asylum-seekers: OSJ hosted a Facebook Live prayer during Holy Week because of the many policy changes introduced in both the U.S. and Canada that will negatively impact refugees and asylum-seekers. Tune in to pray with us.

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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