Interfaith Immigration Coalition Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:28:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Faith leaders to DHS: Bring Juan Back Home Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:57:37 +0000  


CONTACT: Myrna Orozco | 202.599.3585 |


Faith leaders to DHS: Bring Juan Back Home

Petition to Secretary Kelley:


Washington D.C. – Following news that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary Juan Manuel Montes was deported, faith leaders join #JusticeForJuan campaign to demand answers and call for his return home.


Rev. John L. McCullough, CWS President and CEO, said: “The deportation of Juan is a moral outrage. Deporting a young man who should have been protected by DACA is wrong, and the CWS network is joining the call for answers to his deportation and for his return back to his home, here. CWS is strongly committed to standing with all of our immigrant brothers and sisters, including undocumented young people. This deportation is worrisome for the hundreds of thousands of young people who are DACA recipients. If the administration cannot ensure their protection, Congress must put in place measures that will. We call on all Members of Congress to champion legislation that would allow Juan and all of our undocumented community members to remain in the United States. We also urge Congress to reject President Trump’s funding requests to increase detention, deportation and border militarization. We pray that legislators remember the common values we all aspire to, which is the most basic of Sunday school lessons: to love our neighbors. There is much that is unknown right now, but what we do know is that God has called us to welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters — CWS will continue to do just this.”


Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ said, “The United Church of Christ has been walking alongside young undocumented youth in our congregations and we are outraged to see the administration targeting these young people who should be protected by DACA. We call on Congress to deny President Trump any funding for this immoral deportation machine which will continue to separate families and threaten people like Juan who are making our communities and congregations stronger.”


Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World said, “Detaining and deporting young Dreamers like Juan Manuel Montes will not fix our broken immigration system. The U.S. government should not pursue policies that tear families apart. Nor should we detain or deport away young people who came to the U.S. as children. Congress must act to protect Dreamers like Juan Montes and we must work together to solve the underlying challenges of our broken immigration system. Fixing this broken system is a step to ending hunger.”


Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) said, “Juan’s deportation is a devastating example of why indiscriminate immigration enforcement at the direction of the executive branch is creating chaos and fear in immigrant communities. Friends Committee on National Legislation stands in solidarity with Juan, other DACA recipients, and all undocumented immigrants who are waiting on Congress to provide tangible, workable solutions for all to meaningfully and equitably contribute to U.S. communities. In the wake of Juan’s wrongful deportation, we call on Congress to seek answers as to how and why Juan was deported as a DACA recipient and put in place congressional protection for DACA recipients immediately. Congress must take back its legislative power and refuse to fund additional enforcement personnel who will only wreak havoc in the absence of meaningful oversight and eventual immigration reform.”


Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (USA) remarked, “The Trump Administration’s escalation of deportation is inhumane. Every deportation is something to be lamented, because it means one family, community, congregation member torn from the people they love and the place they call home. It is even more devastating for DREAMers like Juan, who may have few ties to their countries of origin. Let us love our neighbors by holding this administration accountable to its promise to protect DREAMERs. If they will not keep that promise, we call on Congress to refuse any funding request that would result in more deportations and detentions.”


Rachel Gore Freed, Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) said, “ICE’s deportation of DACA-recipient Juan Manuel Montes is an unprecedented and willful violation of both current policy and our moral foundation. If allowed to go unchallenged, Juan’s unjust deportation increases the threat to the 750,000 other young people enrolled in DACA who are studying, working, and raising families in our communities, and who had been promised protections. Immigration arrests have risen by 32% since Trump took office, and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have doubled. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee stands with Juan and all others who have been wrongfully deported. Affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we call for the President and Congress to uphold the promised protection from deportation of every young person registered in the DACA program.”


Faith communities across traditions have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to immigrant youth and their families, advocating for the DREAM Act, writing letters and filing Amicus briefs in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, pledging support by more than 800 congregations for the Sanctuary Movement, opposing policies that force local police to be immigration agents, and calling on elected leaders to champion policies that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals in the United States. Raids on immigrant families will not make anyone any safer and failing to protect those in need are affronts to our country’s values of family unity, fairness and equality. We draw from the scriptural call to love thy neighbor and welcome the sojourner by standing with our brothers and sisters to stop harmful deportations that tear families apart.


What would you spend $3 billion on? Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:19:47 +0000 Congress can stop Trump from building a wall and increasing detention & deportations. Congress has “the power of the purse,” which means they can decide whether or not to fund the $3 billion supplemental that President Trump requested for fiscal years 2017 for a deportation force, border wall, and expanded detention. Trump’s budget proposals would cut funding for education, housing, school lunch programs, and poverty-focused international assistance, and spend billions of dollars to dramatically expand immigration enforcement, targeting our undocumented community members, detaining children and separating families.

Share these graphics on social media and tag your member of Congress! You can find your member of Congress’ twitter handle here. Click on the image to download them or download unbranded graphics below.

Download unbranded graphics to tell your member of Congress you’d rather fund more teachers, schools, and childcare over endless immigration enforcement.

Sample Tweets:

  • .@HANDLE, show that #AmericaWelcomes. Refuse to fund Trump’s wall, deportation force & detention centers #NoBanNoWallNoRaids
  • .@HANDLE, stop Trump from targeting refugees and immigrants. Don’t fund his deportation force. #NoBanNoWallNoRaids
  • .@HANDLE, Don’t fund Trump’s morally reprehensible EOs. Stand against them & refuse to fund them. #NoBanNoWallNoRaids

Remember to follow up with a call to your Senators and Representative and an in-person visit!

Top 5 Ways That Refugees and Faith Communities Can Rise Up on May 1st National Day of Action Thu, 06 Apr 2017 21:09:39 +0000 Check out these resources below to see how refugees and faith communities can join the May 1st National Day of Action.

Top 5 Ways That Refugee Communities Can Rise Up on May 1st National Day of Action

Top 5 Ways That Faith Communities Can Rise Up on May 1st National Day of Action

Grassroots Webinar 4/3/17 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:01:48 +0000 Thanks for joining this Interfaith Immigration Coalition Webinar on Prophetic Witness and Nonviolent Direct Action on Monday, April 3rd, 4-5:30 PM ET/ 1-2:30 PM PT.


As we continue to confront the harsh anti-immigrant policies of the Trump Administration this Interfaith Immigration Webinar focused on developing skills to plan nonviolent direct actions that can add to the prophetic witness of the faith community.

We also heard about the importance of an effective advocacy strategy to push back against the White House budget proposal to further fund the deportation machine through increasing ICE agents, mandatory detention and border militarization.


Advocacy on Appropriations- Jen Smyers, Church World Service

Update on DREAMer Legislation- Greisa Martinez, United We Dream

Intro  to Nonviolent Direct Action – Sr Marie Lucey, Franciscan Action Network

Planning a Prophetic Action – Rev. Francisco Garcia, LA Sanctuary Coalition

Public Demonstrations and Immigrants’ Rights- Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project


You can find a recording of the webinar here, and a copy of the slides here. See all of our previous webinars here.

Grassroots Webinar Monday 3/13/17 Fri, 10 Mar 2017 19:05:08 +0000 Recent Raids and Cuts to Refugees: Faith Community Response Recording and PowerPoint Slides

We are in uncertain times as raids target immigrants in our communities and cuts to the refugee program leave vulnerable people at risk. The faith community has a moral responsibility to organize ourselves to respond in every way we can.

Join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Monday, March 13, at 4 pm ET to hear ways you can stay engaged and to gain insights you can take back to your community.

Sign up for the webinar here:

To join the webinar, go to and follow the directions for audio and visual. For audio only call: +1.202.602.1295  Access Code: 354-977-836#

Whether it’s being a part of your local sanctuary coalition, hosting a Know Your Rights training, meeting with your elected leaders, or standing in solidarity with immigrants in other ways, your involvement is critical right now. Join us to learn how your faith community can shape an active and strategic response at a time where your voices and actions are deeply needed.

If you’re unable to join in person we will have a recording up on our Webinars page shortly after the end of the call.

In faith,

Interfaith Immigration Coalition

Immigration Raids Response: For Faith Allies Sat, 11 Feb 2017 13:46:29 +0000 Faith Statements & Letters

Compiled statements from IIC Member Organizations

Sign on Letter: Religious Organizations Oppose Enforcement Actions


Rapid Response Toolkit:

*Inspired by Sanctuary in the Streets from New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia. Find this toolkit & more at

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:


Interfaith Vigil

Extended Vigil Liturgy Resource

  • 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”
  • Songs
  • 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 in Spanish from Immigrant Defense Project

Informed Immigrant Resources


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.


Traditional Media

  • 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


Social Media

  • 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.

Download Toolkit & find more at

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell Your Local, State, and National Leaders to Welcome Refugees Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:06:13 +0000 Right now, as we prepare for President-elect Donald Trump to take office in January, it is more important than ever for all of our elected officials to hear that their communities welcome refugees. Call 1-866-940-2439 and urge your Senators and Representatives to support refugee resettlement! Share the same message with your local and state leaders and tell them to declare your communities welcoming!

Holy Days & Holidays Resources Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:00:53 +0000 Current Resources


HIAS: Passover Resources 2017


#BeLikeEsther: Show Us How You Stand Up for What is Right

Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism Purim Holiday Guide

HIAS Purim Resources 2017: #BeEsther

Lenten Devotions

Full Lenten Resources 2017

National Migration Week – January 8-14, 2017

USCCB Toolkit and Action Alert

Las Posadas Resources

Check out the Las Posadas resources from our IIC member, CLINIC! The resources are available in both English and Spanish.

Advent 2016 Resources

As we enter into the season of Advent, we pray for all who seek to belong, especially refugees and immigrants. See our weekly reflections in, Yearnings to Belong, our new Advent resource.

Holiday Survival Guide

Need some tips on how to talk with your family and friends about refugees and immigrants this holiday season? Check out our holiday survival guide and see how you can help change hearts and minds!

Thanksgiving Resources

Who’s behind the Platter? Stories, Prayers and Action for Thanksgiving

Civic Engagement Resources

Souls to the Polls Resource

Worship Resources for Voters

Prayer of a New Citizen

More resources on our civic engagement website!

***If you are not a citizen or do not know if you are citizen, do not register to vote or voteSee resources in Spanish and in English from CLINIC.

2016 High Holiday Resources

As we prepare for the High Holidays, HIAS has three new resources: a printable door hanger and a liturgical reading and study session for rabbis.

Families Seeking Freedom Resources

As we celebrate Independence Day and move into August Recess, we pray for the families still seeking freedom. See the Families Seeking Freedom resources to join us in standing with families seeking freedom from fear of family separation, detention, and deportation.

World Refugee Day 2016

As we celebrate the resiliency and courage of refugees around the world, we invite you to use the resources from the IIC and our organizations to plan your own events! Please let us know about your event by registering online here.

Refugees Welcome Toolkit

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, World Refugee Day 2016 Toolkit, Prayer for Migrant Children

Father’s Day – Don’t Deport My Dad

As we honor fathers and the immeasurable contributions they make on their children and families this Father’s Day (June 21), we pray for the families separated by immoral detention and deportation. This Father’s Day, we pay special attention to the impact this separation has on both fathers and their children.

Father’s Day Resources – 2016

Shavuot Study Resources

Facilitator’s Study Guide

General Study Guide

Passover Haggadahs and Seder Supplements

2016 Seder Plate Refugee Ritual

2016 Passover Refugee Supplement

Invisible The Story of Modern Day Slavery A Social Justice Haggadah

Immigration Reform Hagaddah Supplement

Immigration Seder

Lenten Devotions

Lenten Devotion, Week 1

Lenten Devotion, Week 2

Lenten Devotion, Week 3

Lenten Devotion, Week 4

Lenten Devotion, Week 5

Lenten Devotion, Palm Sunday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Resources


Epiphany – Families in Detention – Resource

Angels to Angels Project – Call for Letters English

Angels to Angels Project-Call for Letters Spanish


Hanukkah Resource

HIAS Hanukkah Resources


Advent Resource: Immigrants Waiting in Hope


Who is Behind the Platter?–with Farmworker Stories

The Cries of the Harvester

Welcome Weekend, Start of Holiday Season

As we begin our celebrations this holiday season, we start by focusing on the importance of home and belonging. As the world faces the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, many are forced to flee their homes and leave behind their family, friends, and livelihoods. This holiday season, we ask that you dedicate a worship service or event in your congregation to Syrian refugees to help promote understanding of the plight of individuals seeking safety in the region and in Europe, as well as the need for the United States to contribute additional international humanitarian assistance, resettle more refugees, and ensure that communities have the resources they need to help refugees integrate and thrive as they rebuild their lives. Please see the resources below and register to host an event here!

Welcome Weekend Toolkit

Welcome Weekend One Page Information Sheet

To view additional resources for hosting a welcoming event, please download the Refugees Welcome Toolkit here.

Fourth of July

As we celebrate Independence Day with our friends and families, we must remember those in our communities, especially the families, who still long for freedom. This Fourth of July, we pray for those who are imprisoned in family detention centers across the United States, that they may find the freedom they seek.

Fourth of July Prayer Resource

#FreeFamilies Campaign – Social Media Toolkit


World Refugee Day 2015

As we mark World Refugee Day on June 20, we invite you to join us in celebrating refugees’ courage in overcoming adversity and the many gifts they bring to our communities across the United States.

Father’s Day

As we honor fathers and the immeasurable contributions they make on their children and families this Father’s Day (June 21), we pray for the families separated by immoral detention and deportation. This Father’s Day, we pay special attention to the impact this separation has on both fathers and their children.

Don’t Deport My Dad Toolkit

Refugee Community Advocacy Week: June 29- July 2

All Members of Congress will be in their states and local districts the week after World Refugee Day – June 29th – July 2nd.

Refugee Council USA 2015 Advocacy Toolkit

Church World Service: Refugee Resources

Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services: Refugee Sunday Resources

Episcopal Church: Refugee Resources

US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Prayer for Migrant Families

USCCB: Migrant and Refugee Children Resource

USCCB: A Prayer for Migrant Children


Pentecost devotions

endfamilydetentionMother’s Day

On Mother’s Day we honor the special role of motherhood in our families. Our mothers perhaps make the most impact on our childhood in shaping how we are raised and who we become. This Mother’s Day we are paying special attention to the crisis we face in regards to mothers and children held in immigration detention facilities, and we share some stories from mothers in detention.

Family Detention Mother’s Day 2015

Christian Prayer of Solidarity, Oseh Shalom/Prayer for Peace

Holy Week

Holy Week, Six Days of Devotion


Immigration Reform: Your Lenten Promise | Español

Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day Prayer Resource

Rosh Hashanah

HIAS: A Rosh Hashanah Call to Action in Support of the World’s Refugees

Yom Kippur

HIAS: A Yom Kippur Call to Action in Support of the World’s Refugees


HIAS Sukkot Resources

 Past resources

Ash-Wednesday graphic   Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the 40 days prior to Easter known as Lent. Join us in this time of fasting and prayer to call for proper Immigration Reform.

Fast for Families Ash Wednesday Prayer Service
Not1More – Ash Wednesday


Lent graphic  Lent

The weeks before Easter calls us to pray, act, and give. Use our Lenten resources to join others to stand alongside immigrants during this time of fasting and reflection.

A Call to Fast at Lent
Catholic Social Media Graphic
Catholic Lenten Toolkit
Fast for Families – Pledge to Fast
Download the Toolkit


jews-unitedJewish Holiday Resources

Check out these Jewish holiday resources from HIAS that are continuously updated! HIAS also has 2016 High Holiday resources for Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur.



Jewish Shavout Commemorations

Each Thursday of the Omer, beginning April 17, Rabbis Organizing Rabbis (ROR) will share a drash written by a Reform rabbi offering insights on the Omer and the issue of immigration reform.

Sign the pledge and download the text study.



Family Experience Guide for Sukkot

The communal celebrations and gatherings of Sukkot offer opportunities to reflect on our heritage, values and teachings. Sukkot is also a time to take action for social change. We invite you to study this guide, which highlights the theme of migration within Sukkot and the Jewish response to the broken immigration system.
Download the guide



Veteran’s Day

On this Veterans Day, while we honor those who have served and currently serve in the U.S. military, we also want to stand with Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have assisted U.S. forces. These individuals risk their lives and their families’ lives serving alongside U.S. forces. Because of this they may qualify for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because of the persecution and threats they face due to the sacrifice they have made.
Advocating for Special Immigrant Visas
Veterans Day Story and Prayer – Special Immigrant Visa



Worship Resources for Voters

Check out these worship resources and prayers from Church World Service, Interfaith Worker Justice, United Church of Christ, Sisters of Mercy and NETWORK Lobby. And here is a beautiful Prayer of a New Citizen.

wrd-01World Refugee Day & Legislative Contacts: June 2-6 and June 20

World Refugee Day is here on June 20 and you can get ready with this RCUSA Toolkit. Schedule meetings with your members of Congress from June 2-6 and encourage them to stand with refugees.


jfiPentecost Toolkit (June 2-8)

Join Catholics across the country for seven days of prayer, reflection, and action to heal our broken immigration system.


Other Resources

Fast of Esther Toolkit  (NCJW)

Mothers’s Day Weekend, May 10-11


Press Release: Faith Groups Call on DHS to End Use of Private Prisons Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:07:57 +0000 NEWS RELEASE

 For Immediate Release

Press contact: Kathryn Johnson, AFSC (206) 898-2832

Faith Groups Call on DHS to End Use of Private Prisons

WASHINGTON, DC (August 30, 2016) In light of the U.S. Department of Justice announcement made on August 18th that the agency will phase out its use of private prisons, faith based groups called on the Department of Homeland Security to follow suit. Yesterday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said that he would direct the DHS Advisory Council to study the issue and present recommendations by November 30th, but announced no further immediate action.

Representatives of the organizations, which include national Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and interfaith groups issued the following statements:


“The American Friends Service Committee welcomes the Department of Justice decision to end private prison contracts as a positive step forward towards ending mass incarceration and detention. As a Quaker organization we have long worked for prison and detention policies that recognize the dignity of every person.  We know that profiting from incarceration is immoral and has created perverse incentives that contribute to the growth of both the prison and detention populations.  We call on the administration to extend this decision and immediately end the private contracts the Department of Homeland Security uses to run this country’s massive network of immigrant detention centers. Immigrant detention has become synonymous with rampant human rights abuses, poor conditions and profiteering. The writing is on the wall. Locking people up for profit is not something we can continue to do in good conscience.  The administration should put a stop to all federal private prisons and detention centers to help end mass incarceration and detention.” –Shan Cretin, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee


“Church World Service applauds the Justice Department for ending its use of private prisons, and we call on the Department of Homeland Security to do the same. Private prison companies exist to profit off of the deprivation of freedom of our brothers and sisters. To line their pockets, they have lobbied for mandatory prison sentences for minor offenses, specifically targeting immigrants and communities of color. As we know from our work with asylum seekers and other immigrants who are detained, private prisons prioritize their bottom lines above basic human rights standards and have no regard for the wellbeing of the children, women, and men they imprison. I pray that Secretary Jeh Johnson follows the example of the DOJ and end all contracts with private prison companies. We also call for both DOJ and DHS to immediately stop placing individuals in local jails run by private prison companies. Private prisons have no place in our justice system, as they are innately unjust. While DOJ’s announcement is welcome, there is still much work to be done to see that the word “justice” can truly apply to this nation.”  Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service:


“While Franciscan Action Network (FAN) welcomed the announcement that DOJ will phase out contracts with private prison corporations given evidence of appalling conditions and high costs, most federal contracts with private prison companies are with DHS for detention centers where most immigrants being held are mothers and children. FAN believes that detaining immigrant families, especially when filling the pockets of private prison companies runs contrary to both our faith principles and our country’s professed values of compassion, kindness and justice. We urge DHS to follow DOJ in ending contracts with private prison companies, and then avail itself of alternatives to detention for mothers and children.” – Sister Marie Lucey, Director of Advocacy, Franciscan Action Network


“The Friends Committee on National Legislation applauds the Department of Justice’s decision to phase out the use of private prisons. We urge all state and federal agencies to follow suit. Quakers across the country have asked FCNL to work to eliminate the profit motive for detention and pursue policies that end mass incarceration. Ending contracts with private prison corporations will re-focus efforts on determining smart, safe, restorative, and just policies for our criminal justice and immigration systems.” – Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation


“The Department of Homeland Security’s callous practice of jailing asylum seekers will not end when private prisons stop being used, but it’s an important first step. In addition to shutting down private prisons, DHS must stop detaining immigrants and asylum seekers in local city and county jails, where conditions are just as bad if not worse.  Detaining asylum seekers is almost never appropriate, and detaining children is always wrong, but jailing immigrants in facilities where they are treated like criminals is inhumane and must stop.” – Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS


“While an important victory for those who seek justice, the recent decision by the Department of Justice to end the use of privately-run prisons begs the question: if these private facilities have been deemed unsafe for criminals, why does the US government consider similar facilities run by the same companies to be safe for often traumatized asylum seekers and immigrants? Despite this sensible decision to stop fueling for-profit private prison companies with our tax dollars, the Department of Homeland Security still spends billions each year on unneeded and unsafe immigration detention centers.  There are a number of proven alternatives to immigration detention that are more humane, safe and cost-effective that are a much better solution.  If the Department of Justice can open its eyes to the problem of companies motivated primarily by profits operating our prison, the Department of Homeland Security can surely do the same when it comes to housing abused, frightened and vulnerable immigrants.”  – Linda Hartke, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service (LIRS)


“National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) applauds the US Department of Justice for its decision to phase out the use of private prisons to house federal prisoners. This is a step in the right direction toward fair and humane treatment of people in prison. Unfortunately, private prison companies still operate two thirds of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigrant detention facilities, including two facilities that hold families and children. NCJW also urges the Department of Homeland Security to follow the example set by the Department of Justice and end their use of private prisons. Further, children should not be held in any detention facility, where they are at risk of abuse, isolation, and fear.” – Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women:


“Catholic Sisters and Pope Francis voters across the country rejoiced when the Department of Justice chose to end the use of private prisons, but we know that the Department of Homeland Security must do the same.  Immigrants and refugees are not criminals; and as a nation of immigrants we are called to welcome, not fear them. U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to line the pockets of private prison companies and the practice should end immediately” – Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice


“The closure of for-profit prisons by the Department of Justice is a step in the direction of justice, but to continue walking, the Department of Homeland Security must follow in its stead. Corporations hold a majority share of prison injustice, with 62% of all immigration detention beds. It is time for the DHS to take a stand against the immorality of for-profit imprisonment and restore human dignity to the lives of those imprisoned.” – Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners:


“The private prison industry is a blight on the character of America’s heart and soul. It is shameful to think that we would entrust the incarceration and rehabilitation of our prisoners to those whose primary concern is for their shareholders. Unlike state and federally run facilities, who see the value in creating conditions that mitigate recidivism and reduce crime, private prisons are incentivized to make it likely that prisoners will return and their cells stay full. They pay their guards substandard wages. They sign contracts with quotas written in that require their ‘clients’ (state or federal governments) to provide them with a minimum occupancy rate. In order to fill those, governments then turn on our immigrant population and criminalize them. It came as no surprise to me that many Arizona legislators who wrote and supported SB1070 (an immigration bill so regressive and oppressive that most of its provisions were deemed unconstitutional) were also investors and shareholders in the state’s private prison industry. This is a disgrace, and now that the US Government has signaled it will no longer support private prisons for these and other reasons, the Department of Homeland Security should quickly work to cut its contracts with the private prison industry as well.” – Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ


“The United Methodist Church has an historical faith commitment to fair and just prison policies. We rejoice with the Department of Justice at its decision to end the use of private prisons, and we call upon the Department of Homeland Security and state and local governments to enact similar standards. Restoration – rather than retribution – is the biblical basis for justice, which entails transformation, healing, and right relationship with God, self, and community. The move away from the privatization of prisons is a vital step in a journey toward a more compassionate and just criminal justice system.” – Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) commends the Department of Justice on its decision to end the use of privately-managed prisons and urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to similarly halt the use of privately-administered immigration detention facilities. Our faith calls on us to welcome migrants and protect their human dignity, regardless of status. We have long advocated against the U.S. immigration detention system as it fails this moral imperative and criminalizes immigrants and asylum seekers. It is ill-advised to allow for-profit companies to run immigration detention facilities. As a thorough DHS review will show, and as non-governmental organizations have long documented, there are unacceptable levels of abuse occurring in privately-managed detention centers. Thus, we call on DHS to halt the use of these facilities. We further urge DHS to create a humane and effective enforcement policy that minimizes the use of detention generally and ceases detention of families with children and asylum seekers. The government should instead increase use of alternative to detention programs which are proven, cost effective, and respect human dignity.” – William Canny, Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration and Refugee Services


See a PDF of the press release.



Father’s Day Resources Tue, 14 Jun 2016 14:24:13 +0000 DDMD Logo

As we honor fathers and the immeasurable contributions they make on their children and families this Father’s Day (June 19), we pray for the families separated by immoral detention and deportation. This Father’s Day, we pay special attention to the impact this separation has on both fathers and their children.

Father’s Day Resources – 2016