It has been almost two months since our annual gathering in Washington, D.C. and our theme &
, "A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People," still speaks to this important moment in our nation's history.
I am sure that you have heard about the horrific actions by the Department of Justice and Homeland Security in separating children from their parents at U.S. borders. Our collective voices and advocacy efforts are urgently needed now as we speak up for the most vulnerable, fight for justice and seek global peace in our nation and around the world.
Today, Tuesday, June 19th, women faith leaders held the "Women of Faith Cry Out to Keep Families Together Prayer Vigil" in front of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C. to pray and to call on the Trump Administration to end its inhumane policy of tearing children away from their parents at the borders.
You can follow the activity around this vigil on Facebook by searching for the hashtags:
Please join us in prayer from where you are today and call your representatives in Congress to urge them to pass legislation that will ensure that children will not be cruelly and unjustly separated from their families.
Responding to the Separation of Immigrant Families
In addition, there are several important events and advocacy efforts this week, which I would like to bring to your attention with the hopes that you will help promote them through your networks and participate in them as you are able.
We want to make sure that all activities are being amplified to members of Congress, with the same #EAD2018 ask to cut funding for DHS that is fueling this abuse and increased oversight to stop other systemic rights violations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
We want to ensure that outrage is directed at the
President, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security who have the power to end this practice.
We also want to ensure that members of Congress are feeling the heat. They can:
- Make public statements opposing this.
- Put pressure on the administration to end this policy.
- Increase oversight of existing enforcement and ensure practices are aligned with human rights law, international law, and current law (hint: they aren't right now).
- Cut DHS funding that is going towards these human rights abuses.
Faith leaders are also being asked to write editorials, opinion pieces, blogs or other written media expressing outrage over family separation. Especially needed are written pieces from faith leaders in
OK, AK, ND, LA, WA-4, VA-2 (Republicans) | MT, NH, WI, WV (Democrats)
as Members of Congress continue discussing funding.
, the communications coordinator of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, is happy to help faith leaders and other "grasstop" leaders with these opinion pieces. She can be reached at
World Refugee Day Call-in Week
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has organized a number of advocacy efforts that we hope you will join and help amplify.
On World Refugee Day, June 20th, we celebrate refugees' resilience and strength and urge our elected leaders to protect the U.S. refugee resettlement program. With global need at its highest, the administration has reversed our nation's history as a world leader in refugee protection and resettlement, setting an all-time low refugee admissions goal for fiscal year 2018 at 45,000. What's worse, the administration is only on track to resettle 20,000 refugees this year, not even meeting their own goal. This amounts to tens of thousands of families who remain separated from one another.
It is critical that Members of Congress and the administration hear their constituents' support for refugees, decry record-low refugee arrivals, and call for robust refugee resettlement in the United States. Join World Refugee Day National Call-in Week from June 18th - June 22nd!
Tell Congress to Welcome Refugees:
or Call 1-866-961-4293*
*Please call three times to be connected with your Representative and both of your Senators.
"I'm your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I urge you to support the U.S. refugee resettlement program. I strongly oppose President Trump's continued Muslim and refugee bans, as well as the all-time low cap on refugee admissions. I urge you to do everything in your power to see that the administration resettle at least the 45,000 refugees they have set as the cap for 2018 and see the administration commit to resettling at least 75,000 for 2019. Resettlement is a core American legacy that allows the world's most vulnerable refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. My community welcomes refugees, and I urge you to reflect the best of our nation's values by supporting the refugee resettlement program."
Here is an easily shareable list of the top five ways faith communities can take action:
- Join the June 18th-June 22nd National Call-In Week: Click here to call your 2 Senators and 1 Representative from June 18th-June 22nd and urge them to do everything in their power to see the administration resettle at least 45,000 refugees in 2018 and commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees next year. A sample call script is available here.
- Host Prophetic Witness or Refugees Welcome Event: Check out the map of 2018 Refugees Welcome & World Refugee Day events happening across the country and register your own! The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has a tool for people sign up to host/attend local events in their area celebrating welcoming refugees. This tool is designed to help support planning an event, advertising, and encouraging local press turnout. Click here to learn more about how to use interfaith vigils, press conferences, actions, and foot washing ceremonies, and other events to escalate pressure on our national, state, and local leaders.
- Dedicate a Worship Service: We invite all congregations around the country to celebrate your community's welcome for refugees around World Refugee Day. There are many ways to devote a worship service. For examples, please click here. You can find more planning resources for your celebration here. For more Welcome Sunday resources, please click here.
- Local or State Resolutions and/or and local leaders, including your Governor, state lawmakers, and local officials to adopt World Refugee Day resolutions or proclamations affirming refugee resettlement and calling on the administration to extend hospitality to refugees and all newcomers. Click here for or sample resolution language, sample letters, and other resources for your state and local advocacy. For more information on how to visit your state and local elected leaders, please click here.
- Amplify with Local and Social Media: Show your support for refugee resettlement by writing for a local or national publication. Writing an opinion editorial (op-ed) or letter to the editor (LTE) is the perfect way to share your perspective. Check out the RCUSA World Refugee Day Toolkit for a sample WRD op-ed. Click here for a sample WRD LTE. You can also share your message on social media! Sample tweets are available here and here. Sample graphics are available here.
For more resources, check out our Interfaith Toolkit for World Refugee Day:
for how refugee communities can take action.
Tell House Members to Reject
Proposed Immigration Legistation
The House will vote on two immigration bills this week - we unequivocally opposed these bills, which will fundamentally change our immigration system, permanently ban families from reuniting, and erode access to asylum under guise of protecting immigrant youth.
One is the anti-immigrant, anti-family, enforcement-only Goodlatte proposal, and the other a bill that includes many of the same provisions put together in consultation with Speaker Ryan and aligns with the White House pillars.
We urge Members to reject both the Goodlatte bill and Ryan bill. They both fundamentally change our immigration system, especially family sponsorship and access to asylum.
Thank you for all you do in being faith witnesses and raising our collective voice for justice.
Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune
Director, Ecumenical Advocacy Days