Helping Immigrant Families

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Many have publicly and privately asked, "What can we do to help the immigrant families facing threat of deportation, as well as the children and families suffering from horrible conditions at the border?"

Here are some ideas of what can be done to help: 

1. Post and draw attention to the horrible situation - as American citizens and tax payers, we have the right to speak up if we disagree with the situation. Government leaders are elected to represent us and we pay the taxes used to run the government. Talking, posting, and exposing abuse and mistreatment is doing something. Don’t be persuaded by anyone saying that talk is cheap, in these cases talking is important, if you cannot do anything else, post, talk, influence, this is better than not saying anything at all, or than justifying inhumane policies. Exposing abuse and mistreatment will at times cause perpetrators to slow down, stop, or change course.

2. Contact your elected officials. Their offices exist to represent their constituents. 

3. Advocate for the least of these - as Christians we must never relinquish our responsibility to speak truth to power. When we speak truth to power we are in great company, the company of many spiritual leaders in the Bible who spoke up to power, including Jesus. As Christians, we don't only value the lives of the unborn but also the lives of those who have already been born. Don't let anyone intimidate you by saying "too much talk" or “it is political” talk is important and it is part of our Christian duty. 

4. Don’t dignify the comments of those who give the appearance to care more about justifying and excusing cruel and evil policies and their perpetrators, than they care about human suffering. Don't argue with them, pray for them. 

5. Befriend families which are suffering from threats of deportation and separation - our family regularly visits or invites to our home immigrant families. Ask what their needs are: Food, clothing, toys for children, furniture, help filling out official documents, and using your network to help the adults find work are things that we have been able to help with. Many of these families are hard-working families, some have lived in this country for years and are well established here, they may not have a financial need, but they are feeling desperate and hopeless at the potential of being suddenly separated and sent back to a place where they have not lived or visited in 10-20 years, those possibilities horrify them. They need your love and friendship. Be there for them.

6. Host an asylum refugee seeker in your home, for more information go to www.roomforrefugees.com.The majority have family members and friends here, but need a place to stay for 2-4 nights till they are able to travel to be with their families 

7. Help pay an immigrant's bail, this is the fastest way they are able to reunite with their families. 

8. Partner with a ministry to visit immigrants who are detained - www.lirs.org/detention-visitation/

9. Accompany immigrant minors or families to their court-hearing - www.elca.org/ammparo (wonderful program run by the Lutheran Church).

10. Volunteer at the border - https://www.npr.org/…/makeshift-volunteer-clinics-struggle-…

11. Now, take a look at what the Blythe Seventh-day Adventist Church is doing https://www.latimes.com/…/la-me-ln-immigration-migrants-sur

Jose Cortes, Jr. is an associate ministerial director for the North American Division