Immigration Pathways Updates
In 2023, many changes occurred to the US Immigration System. This page provides updates and resources for UCC churches and partners to understand and respond to these changes as they evolve.
Welcome Corps, Process for CHNV, and Private Sponsorship
This section covers updates on the new private sponsorship platforms available. There are several pathways to welcome new immigrants into your community:
1980-Present: Cosponsor with a Refugee Agency (RA). This is the most traditional route to sponsor refugees. Find your local RA here: Find Resources and Contacts in Your State | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov)
1951-Present: Accompany an asylum seeker. Asylum seekers qualify for less benefits than formal refugees and often aren’t eligible for services from RA’s. However, the UCC has an excellent network for resources and support for congregations interested in asylum accompaniment. Please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
2022-Present: Uniting for Ukraine | USCIS. Uniting 4 Ukraine is a Humanitarian Parole program in which Ukrainians can be sponsored by private US citizens to stay and work in the United States for a 2-year period. Ukrainians under this program qualify for the same benefits as formal refugees; however, churches need to demonstrate contractual financial commitment to qualify for the program. Churches can fill an interest form with Church World Service for more information: Welcoming Ukrainians – CWS (cwsglobal.org)
2023-Present: Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans | USCIS. CHNV is a similar program to Uniting 4 Ukraine, in which private US citizens legally agree to host the above nationalities for a 2-year period. These nationalities receive varying government benefits and often have delayed processing and work authorization approvals. Churches can fill an interest form with Church World Service for more information: Humanitarian Parole Sponsorship – CWS (cwsglobal.org)
2023-Present: Home – Welcome Corps. Welcome Corps provides resettlement for the same qualifying group of refugees as traditional RA’s, except at the expense and commitment of private sponsorship groups instead of the federal government. Welcome Corps is in an evolutionary phase and subject to change over the course of this year, hopefully to expand its capacity to groups outside of traditional refugee status. Please see the video below entitled “Welcome Corps with Church World Service” to learn more about the status of this program and how to get involved.
2021-Present: Family Reunification. In response to the Trump administration forcibly separating asylum families, a new program has evolved to reunify those families. This program is supported by our partners at Al Otro Lado, who take care of the legal concerns for the families enrolled in this program. Often, Al Otro Lado will reach out to UCC National to request a varying amount of support from churches to help reunified families adjust to life in the US in a wide range of cities. If you would like to be in the network of reunification support, please contact email@example.com. More information on the family reunification project can be found at the video link below: “Migrant Sponsorship: Responding to the Heartbreaking E-Mails.”
The following recordings, produced by UCC National in conversation with our partners, provide context and updates for the most recent sponsorship changes. Please watch these videos for further information, and reach out to Rev. Irene Willis Hassan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions or would like to enroll as a sponsor for any of the above programs.
The US Southern Border: CBP One and the End of Title 42
In response to the expiration of Title 42, the Biden administration required asylum seekers at the US Southern Border to utilize an application called CBP One™ Mobile Application | U.S. Customs and Border Protection to legally apply for asylum within the United States. This application harbors many ethical concerns, including technological and racial inequity, increased human trafficking, and diminished rights to constitutional asylum claims. We are monitoring the situation at the border and how these changes continue to unfold. Please read the below article for more information about the UCC border response.
UCC Refugee and Migration Services and the UCC National Collaborative on Immigration will be jointly hosting a workshop at UCC General Synod, July 1st, 3pm in Indianapolis entitled “Immigration at the Border and the UCC Response.” Please join us at this workshop for updated information about how to help.
This page will be continuously updated pending changes to the US immigration system and resources for church response.