(We gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by Voces de la Frontera in the preparation of this article)
Leviticus 19:33-34: "‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”
It is no secret that our immigrant communities are facing difficult and dangerous times. As people of faith, it is our duty to reach out and provide whatever help and assistance we can, from pastoral counseling and legal assistance, to financial support, to providing shelter. The imperative of Sanctuary calls out to us to live out our faith commitments in the service of those in dire need.
Our faith communities have a long history of providing sanctuary for individuals and communities in trouble. From Biblical sanctuary cities, to the Underground Railroad, to Righteous Gentiles protecting Jews during the Holocaust, to Vietnam War draft resisters and Central American refugees in the 1980’s, congregations and people of faith have stood up for justice and compassion for all in need.
Today the need for congregations, communities, and individuals to provide Sanctuary is greater than ever. The incoming Trump Administration has committed to reverse all executive orders President Obama has issued to provide deportation relief and to begin deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrants on day one. Families are at risk of being split apart and youth who came forward under the Executive Order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are at risk for deportation.
These people are an integral and important part of our communities – they are the students we teach and learn with; our neighbors and friends; business owners and our fellow-workers; the people we sit beside in the pews. We owe them our help and support.
There are many ways to become part of the Sanctuary Movement:
- Raise our prophetic voices to bring awareness of the injustice of threats of widespread deportation
- Be the voices of compassion and justice for asylum seekers and for families struggling to stay together
- Speak out for those brought to this country as young children, who have known no other home but this, and advocate for continuing the DACA program
- Advocate with the Trump Administration and members of Congress to uphold President Obama’s policies of deferred action and prosecutorial discretion in pursuing deportations
- Provide legal assistance to those facing deportation proceedings
- Provide “Know Your Rights” trainings
- Provide shelter, food, and other material support
Below is a list of resources, upcoming trainings, and events. Please share this information widely with your congregations and communities and use the Comments section to let us know what is happening in your own communities!
Organizations (not an exhaustive list)
Immigration Equality: The Nation’s Leading LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Organization
Sanctuary, Not Deportation
Voces de la Frontera
January 9 and 10 – Community Information Session on Sanctuary, presented by Voces de la Frontera with co-hosts First Unitarian Society, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and Madison-Area Urban Ministry. What is sanctuary, who might need it, and who might provide it? What’s the process, and what are the legal implications? Sanctuary is one way some faith communities have felt called to respond to the needs of their neighbors. Clergy and lay leaders of all faith communities are invited to come learn about the Sanctuary Movement at this free, multi-faith informational meeting. The same presentation will be offered twice. Please join us on Monday, January 9 OR Tuesday, January 10 at 7 pm. Locations will be announced soon; we hope to offer one session on the east side and one on the west side.
January 14 - National Day of Resistance for Immigrant Refugee Rights. Voces de la Frontera is organizing a march at 11am from 1027 S. 5th St. in Milwaukee. No to mass deportation, yes to DACA, Refugees Welcome, no Muslim registry, Keep Families Together!
Toolkit adapted by Voces de la Frontera from http://sanctuarynotdeportation.org / section “Sanctuary Toolkit New”