Faith Statements & Letters
Rapid Response Toolkit:
*Inspired by Sanctuary in the Streets from New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia. Find this toolkit & more at http://www.sanctuarynotdeportation.org
Immigration Raids Are Happening Under the Trump Administration
As the faith community, we must continue to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees as increased attacks come down from the Administration. We know from Trump’s Executive Orders and announcements that immigration enforcement will increase deportations, including through small and large-scale raids. This may take place through workplace raids, home raids, neighborhood-wide raids, and checkpoints. As faith allies, we are called to be in solidarity through rapid response mobilization to stop these raids, stop these deportations and support impacted communities. In the face of President Trump’s extremist anti-immigrant agenda we must respond with a prophetic and bold voice.
- Stand in solidarity and accompany families targeted by raids
- Respond to the Trump Administration’s’ attack on immigrants through faithful witness to disrupt raids and immigration enforcement through prayerful and prophetic presence
- Put public pressure on ICE and the Trump Administration to stop all raids and deportations.
- Counter this wave of terror through the immigrant community with a message of hope, faith and planned action in immigrant communities.
How Can We Prepare?
- Make sure you are part of an organized network of faith communities who are working closely with immigrant-led organizations.
- Identify or create communications mechanisms such as a hotline number or phone tree where faith allies can be reached in case of an emergency, but don’t just wait to be contacted. Especially when there are rumors of raids, keep an eye on the social media accounts of local immigrant rights organizations and/or watch for key hashtags like #ICEin[city name] and #MigraWatch
- Make a plan, in consultation with immigrant-led organization, for how allies can show up together to a raid and what you can do to help stop the raid from happening.
- Make sure you know your rights and that you know the rights to which all immigrants are entitled (see below).
How to be Organized
- Make sure you are meeting regularly and outreaching to new congregations interested in immigrants rights or the Sanctuary Movement
- Always stay linked to a trusted immigrants rights organization. There are many great networks such as UWD, FIRM, NDLON, Mijente, and DWN, but it’s always best to be connected to local organizations that will know your local context.
- To be a good ally, make sure to always engage with and take leadership from impacted people.
- Contact local members of the The National Lawyers Guild to see if they can be legal observers.
Set up Local Hotline and Rapid Response Communication
- Assign a point person to alert the faith community in times of emergency through the following: set up a text thread, phone tree and/or hotline number. Signal is a recommended secure app to communicate via text.
- Make sure to coordinate with immigrants’ rights organizations, there should only be one local hotline per region, and it should be widely publicized so the immigrant community knows to call if there is need for rapid response
- Create a way to rotate volunteers of people who are on-call for the hotline
- Some have bought a cheap cell phone and make sure it’s staffed 24/7 by someone who can speak Spanish or any other language that might be needed in your region.
- Another way to set up a hotline is through google voice. The number that people are given stays the same, but you can change the forwarded number on the back end.
What to do once you arrive to the raid
- Gather as a group at a distance.
- Assign roles: Lead, Family Liaison, ICE Liaison, Leader of ritual (or divide into parts), Song lead, Singers, Person filming, those risking arrest, neighbors
- Review plan
- Distribute banners and signs
- If there is a group ready to risk arrest to block a deportation from happening you should set up a specific training around that before moving forward with such plan
- See action in Phoenix where a group blocked ICE van
- You have the right to offer public witness, but on the sidewalk. If ICE or other law agencies tell you to move you should follow directions unless there is a group prepared and trained to risk arrest
- Consider having specific people designated to de-escalate, should conflict arise.
- You have a right to witness and video record the enforcement action. This will help create public pressure that could help stop the raid, though rights do vary by state, so make sure to know your rights about video recording
- Record badge numbers, license plates, and everything that happened in the incident by writing it down and video taping. As much as possible, try to learn and document what role ICE officers and local law enforcement played. For local advocacy, it is important to note the role of local law enforcement, including indirect support like blocking traffic.
- Make sure there is space on your phone to hold video recording, and download the ACLU video app to ensure the information is captured and disseminated regardless of what happens to your camera or phone: aclu.org/feature/aclu-apps-record-police-conduct
- Form ourselves as community/ Call to Prayer
- This could be introducing yourself to your neighbor, hugging your neighbor, or simply putting arms around each other’s shoulders.
- If we know the name of person in house, we can mention them
- Opening prayer or silence
- Blessing – claiming this space as holy ground.
- Put down candles in perimeter
- Put central altar (box with cloth and objects people can bring)
- If risking arrest line the inner perimeter of the holy ground
- “May a new light shine upon this place”
- Reading or mention sacred text
Know Your Rights Resources for Immigrants
See Resources from United We DREAM
- DO NOT OPEN DOOR: ICE can’t come in without a warrant. They can only come in if you let them come in.
- REMAIN SILENT: Anything you say can be used against you in court. Plead the 5th amendment to remain silent.
- DO NOT SIGN: Don’t sign anything ICE gives you without talking to an attorney.
- REPORT AND RECORD: If you see a raid happening call your local hotline, alert your community (national hotline is 1-844-363-1423). Record the badge numbers of agents, type of car, and exactly what happened.
- STAND STRONG! Get a trustworthy attorney, engage the local community to advocate alongside you. If you are detained you may be able to get bail and be released, don’t give up hope.
Also check out raid resources from the Immigration Defense Project
Know Your Rights for Allies
- If you see a raid happening, call your local hotline (national hotline is 1-844-363-1423). Record the badge numbers of agents, type of car, and exactly what happened.
- You have a right to be present, observing, bearing witness, praying, photographing and video taping (though your right to videotape a law enforcement action may vary by state). If ICE warns you and asks you to step back while videoing/photographing, it is best to follow directions, as they may confiscate your camera.
- Consider advising friendly local media outlets to show up when there is a raid happening
- Make sure to assign a media contact and several media spokesperson who know their talking points ahead of time
- Assign someone to record the entire rapid response through Facebook live or the ACLU app
- Create a common hashtag using the location + #Raids and #Free+name so that people can follow what’s happening along with other more well known hashtags like #NoBanNoWall #SanctuaryNotDeportations #Heretostay
- Post photos and updates with ways for people to sign up for alerts so that others can see what’s happening and join the struggle
Confirm Raids or Enforcement Actions and Beware of False Alarms
- If your rapid response team receives too many false alarms, they can grow fatigued and start to not take the call to action seriously. It’s important to get the most accurate information possible by confirming the reports, try and get photos if possible by witnesses who are present.
Post-Raid Action Just as Important
- Rapid response is not just about trying to stop a raid, it’s also about mobilizing and organizing people to help with the fall out of the raid, when families are being separated
- Have a list of local pro-bono immigration lawyers that are willing and ready to provide services for people being detained
- Be ready to show up and do a vigil at the ICE field office, detention center or jail where people are being held to advocate for those immigrants to be released on bail
- Be prepared to launch a call in action to call on the ICE Field office to release the people who are being detained.
Background Spiritual Preparedness Reading
- Rev Dr Martin Luther King’s An Experiment in Love is a great article that talks about nonviolent action and love.
*Special thanks to New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia who helped put this toolkit together, see their Sanctuary in the Streets toolkit as an additional resource.