Executive Orders which will deeply impact the lives and freedoms of refugees and immigrants, both inside and outside the U.S., have just been released today, and more are anticipated to be released tomorrow from the White House. Today's announcements focused on border security and interior immigration issues, and refugee related announcements are expected to be announced Thursday. Please stay tuned, and we'll continue to provide updates!
Two immigrant related announcements have been made. The first announced additional wall building along the U.S. southern border, and promised the payment for the wall will ultimately be reimbursed by Mexico-though U.S. taxpayers will pay initially. The "Catch and Release" program will be ended, meaning there will be mandatory detention at the border of families and children seeking protection, and additional Customs and Border Protection officials will be added. The second order announced aggressive interior enforcement policies, and requested the Director of Homeland Security to "strip federal grant funds from Sanctuary Cities;" thereby seeking to force local police to serve as federal immigration agents. Such actions will further increase fear of separation among so many immigrant families living and working among us.
Refugee related announcements are expected to halt the issuance of visas/refugee arrivals into the U.S. from multiple Middle Eastern and African countries, especially including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Additional orders are anticipated to target changes to the U.S. refugee vetting process-already the most vigorous in the world--as soon as the nominee to head the U.S. State Department is confirmed. Such orders are within the President's legal authority. Yet these actions will greatly cripple the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and deny protections to vulnerable refugees in precisely this time when there are more refugees around the globe than at any point since World War II. Should any actions be deemed to discriminate against a religion (for example, if all locations are deemed to be primarily Muslim population, and/or if there are clear preferences for particular religious minorities from certain nationalities), they would be considered unconstitutional.
Immigrants and refugees urgently need our voices of faith support and welcome to be heard LOUD, CLEAR, and FROM ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY immediately!! Please see action and resource suggestions tomorrow, and let me know what your area is planning and doing in response-and how our Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries can assist you in your efforts!!
Below are URGENT ACTIONS you are invited to consider. They help up communicate directly to President Trump, and to request a change in these plans.
TO PREPARE YOUR RESPONSE ACTIONS:
See this toolkit
for guidance on how you can hold prayer vigils, share supportive stories about REFUGEES with the media, and hold a Press Conference or other actions for support in your area. (Note: This initial toolkit is focused on refugee issues, but check back soon to see additional resources and language added re: immigrant support!): Go here for refugee toolkit.
See this toolkit for guidance on how you can hold prayer vigils, share supportive stories about IMMIGRANTS with the media, and hold a Press Conference or other actions for support in your area. Also, see how your church can consider offering sanctuary protection for immigrant neighbors at risk of detention and deportation: Go here for immigrant toolkit.
PLEASE DO THESE THINGS IMMEDIATELY to help IMMIGRANTS:
- Go to this link to TAKE ACTION NOW to call your Congressional leaders and President Trump to share your support for the protection of immigrant families, and to urge that sanctuary cities would NOT be cut off from federal funding: http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/protectsanctuary/
- Go to this link to find background information about long-term efforts to fight against legislation to ban sanctuary cities: http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/?s=sanctuary+cities&submit.x=0&submit.y=0&submit=Go
- Go to this link to stay updated about resources through the Southern Border Communities Coalition: http://southernborder.org/category/press/press-releases/
- See these 10 Key Points about Sanctuary Cities, from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center: Go here for 10 Key Points about Sanctuary Cities.
- Go to this link for important Disciples Legal Immigration Updates and ways immigrant families can protect themselves in this time of changing policies: http://us9.campaign-archive2.com/?u=9309b4afde0246779a8d37b46&id=448e1d47f5
- Go to this link to support the existing DACA Program, and to receive updates: https://action.unitedwedream.org/petitions/keep-the-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca-program/?source=CC email&link_id=10&can_id=1d98286a1d824269330d29ec04fda877&email_referrer=info-we-promised-on-the-community-call&email_subject=info-we-promised-on-the-community-call
PLEASE DO 6 THINGS IMMEDIATELY to help REFUGEES:
1. Sign this petition stating opposition to any plans to stop refugee resettlement. Remember to confirm your sign-on via your email, otherwise it won't be counted. (You MUST use this new link-and please note that the deadline is end of day January 31st!)
@realDonaldTrump Don't stop welcoming refugees. Resettlement demonstrates the best of our values #RefugeesWelcome
@realDonaldTrump Keep America welcoming. Refugee resettlement is a proud American legacy with bipartisan support #RefugeesWelcome
President Trump, We are hearing that you will stop refugee resettlement based on someone's nationality or religion. As a faith group, we are STRONGLY opposed to any policy change that would deny access to refugees based on their religion or nationality. Please reject such ideas, as a religious litmus test for safety is an affront to religious liberty.
As faith groups that work with thousands of members of our communities in churches and synagogues across the country to welcome refugees every day, we oppose any plan to reduce refugee admissions and to prevent Muslim refugees from being resettled in the United States. We urge you to allow the U.S. refugee program to continue to resettle refugees that need our protection regardless of where they come from or how they pray. Thank you for your leadership in ensuring the U.S. remains a beacon of hope for all those who are persecuted that seek peace, safety and freedom. bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees
More than 800 faith leaders: "The U.S. Refugee Resettlement program has been and should remain open to those of any religious tradition who face persecution on account of the reasons enumerated under U.S. law. We oppose any proposal that would prevent Syrian refugees or individuals who practice Islam and other faiths from accessing the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Proposals that would have the U.S. State Department disqualify refugees from protection based on their nationality or religion fly in the face of the very principles this nation was built upon, contradict the legacy of leadership our country has historically demonstrated, and dishonor our shared humanity." bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees
4. Share this BROADLY.
Thanks everyone. Please note that we still do not know when an executive order will be released or what the specifics are. Right now we are just focusing on tweeting, facebooking, and communicating through the petition. We will continue to send information as we receive it and are still planning on broader action alerts following any announcement that would turn our back on refugees.
5. Sign up HERE to join a call on January 30 at 4 p.m. Eastern with Muslim community organization partners in support of the Refugees Welcome initiative, in order to learn more about how we can build strong inter-faith partnerships in support of refugees: Go here for information about webinar and how to register for webinar.
6. See these Resources for helpful background information on Refugees:
PLEASE DO STAY IN TOUCH AT firstname.lastname@example.org ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN YOUR AREA TO HELP REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS, AND REGISTER YOUR EVENTS here.