"A refugee from Uganda has reunited with her four children this summer after a separation of more than five years — thanks to her dogged determination, constant advocacy and continued accompaniment of her church family.
Deborah Jane Baliraine, joined by allies from First Community Church (FCC) United Church of Christ and Community Refugee Immigration Services (CRIS), both in Columbus, Ohio, welcomed her son and three daughters to their new home in the United States in late June."
To read the full article written by Connie Larkman click here.
"United Church of Christ clergy and congregations took leadership, served as hosts, lit candles and planned follow-up actions during many of the hundreds of "Lights for Liberty" vigils held Friday evening, July 12. The events around the country protested the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers detained at the southern U.S. border, in what national vigil organizers refer to as concentration camps." For more on this article that was written by Hans Holznagel please click here.
Dear Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:
The United Church of Christ through Refugee and Asylum Ministries seeks to accompany our refugee neighbors, both in the United States and around the world, as they seek safety and security. We write today asking for a robust commitment to resettling 95,000 refugees in the United States in 2020 and a commitment to resettling at least 30,000 refugees this year.
Last year when we wrote this letter we said the world was facing the worst refugee crisis in history. This year that is still true, the numbers continue to climb, and global instability has spread and grown. Over 68 million people are displaced, 25 million of whom are refugees. Half of those refugees are children. The targets for refugee resettlement have been abysmally low, at 45,000 last year and 30,000 this year; and even more unacceptable is that the resettlement goal wasn’t even met by half. This complete rejection of the responsibility to help resettle refugees is abhorrent and profoundly troubling.
We know every refugee dreams of being home, and that refugee resettlement is a last resort for only the most dire circumstances. Refugee resettlement happens when people are persecuted for their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, and cannot return home to rebuild their lives in their country of origin. Refugee resettlement is not, and should not be a partisan issue, and the U.S. resettlement program has been the happy recipient of support from both sides of the aisle. It should continue to receive that strong bipartisan support because refugees are good for our country. Our communities and congregations flourish with the spirit and contributions of refugees. Compassion is also good for our country. The practice of extending help where needed is good for our moral center.
Through UCC Refugee and Asylum Ministries, hundreds of UCC congregations have helped resettle refugees and advocated on their behalf. Our faith calls us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner. We as a church are committed to doing just that. We celebrate the refugees in our communities and urge Congress to safeguard and bolster the refugee resettlement program; ensuring the Administration is held accountable to resettling 30,000 refugees this year and makes a bold and compassionate commitment to resettle 95,000 refugees in 2020. In order to fully embrace this pledge we encourage support and passage of the GRACE Act, (S.1088 & H.R.2146), which would set a minimum refugee admissions goal of 95,000 each year thereafter and the NO BAN Act, (S.1123 & H.R.2214), which would repeal the Muslim bans, refugee bans, and asylum ban, and prevent the administration from setting such bans in the future.
With all this talk of numbers, it’s important to remember the people behind them. Hebrews 13:1-2 reminds us to “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Each refugee has a story of struggle and resilience, of heartache and joy. Being a part of that story is a privilege.
Refugee Council USA released a report on the drastic cuts to refugee resettlement harming refugees and it's impact on American communities. RCUSA is a coalition of 24 non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to welcoming, aiding and assisting refugees.
To read the full report please click here.
UCC Refugee Justice Sunday #UCCRefugeeJustice
198 faith-based communities united together to write a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, condemning the "Remain in Mexico" policy. The letter focused on two points, "The policy puts people fleeing danger back in harm’s way and The policy jeopardizes access to counsel, due process, and the overall ability for a person to find safety in the United States."
"We, the 472 undersigned leaders of diverse faith communities and 198 faith-based organizations, write to condemn the baseless and immoral Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico Policy. We request the immediate termination of this egregious policy which returns vulnerable asylum seekers to Mexico and puts them at risk of further harm while they wait for their case to be processed in the United States.
Our faith traditions compel us to welcome one another with love and compassion, regardless of the place of birth, religion, or ethnicity. Our diverse moral teachings find consistency in the absolute value of the human person and our obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. We call on you to uphold our country’s asylum law and respect asylum seekers and others seeking protection as the human beings they are and to work to address the root causes that drive people from their homes in search of safety."
To read the full letter click here.
Due to years of conflict and disease thousands of Liberian refugees who fled the country are at risk of immediate deportation. Our partners at the National Council of Churches, are urging us all to take action and protect refugees from immediate deportation by acting now and contacting congress.
Contact Congress Today to Ask for Action to Protect Refugees
Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Status Ends March 31
Thousands of Liberian refugees who fled civil war and disease are at risk of immediate deportation unless Congress acts. Since 1991, Liberia has been continuously designated for either Temporary Protected Status or DED, due to unsafe country conditions preventing Liberians from safely returning. In 2007, President Bush directed that DED be granted to Liberian TPS holders, allowing them to remain in the United States for eighteen months. Since then, DED for Liberia has been extended by all subsequent administrations - Democrat and Republican alike. In 2016, the Obama administration extended DED for Liberia for an additional 18 months, after it suffered from an ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and devastated Liberia as well. The epidemic killed 11,000 people in the span of two years. Despite this history, the Trump administration announced the ending of DED by end of March this year.
The Liberian Council of Churches has asked directly for help from people of faith in the U.S., especially their Christian brothers and sisters. On a recent trip to Liberia, General Secretary/President Jim Winkler pledged that NCC would advocate to protect the status of Liberians as a response to the Biblical mandate to "welcome and care for the sojourner and immigrant and refugee..."
A bill before Congress would help protect Liberians in the U.S. The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Jack Reed, will give Liberians an opportunity to apply for permanent residency and, eventually, a path to citizenship. Write to your representative and senators now to urge them to support the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act!!
Recently UCC Environmental Justice Ministries completed a webinar or Climate Change and Forced Migration. This webinar will address one of the most important issues of our time: climate change and forced migration. War, agricultural hardship, severe weather-all of these can connect to climate change and the factors behind migration for millions of people. For example, one of the factors behind the much discussed caravan of migrants from Central America was climate change. How can people of faith respond to increasing climate migration? To watch the full webinar click here.
"Sign-up to receive monthly notices about upcoming webinars that feature speakers who will assist churches in learning about best practices for ministries related to caring for God’s creation. Each webinar will have a focus pertaining to one of the four areas of discernment for Creation Justice Churches: theology and worship, institutional life and practice, circles of awareness and advocacy, and connections to a broader movement. Participation in the Creation Justice Churches program is not required to join a webinar." UCC Environmental Justice
CWS Launches Call Center to Connect Asylum Seekers Released from Detention with Resources in Local Communities
Church world services has published a press release advising they are launching a call center to connect asylum seekers that were released from detention centers with local communities to aid in support and sanctuary. For over 70 years Church World Services has aided in the support of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people by providing support through sustainable relief, development, to local community support.