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New Immigration Detention Resource via @LIRSorg: ‘Steps Beyond – Education, Advocacy & Community Care’

May 25, 2012

Reposted from the LIRS blog:
We’re excited to announce the Internet release of a new tool for everyone who’s interested in ministering to detained and recently released migrants!

Whether you are a veteran visitor to immigrants in detention or just starting out, we believe that Steps Beyond: Education, Advocacy & Community Care is packed with resources and fresh ideas that can boost your important work!

This publication, the last in the five-module Bring the Sky series, was developed as part of an ongoing collaboration with the Presbyterian Church (USA) to provide assistance to those affected by immigration detention.

Education, advocacy, and community care for people who have been released are all possible “steps beyond.” Here’s a glance at just a few of the topics covered in greater detail in this module:

  • Education.  Most people have no idea of the extent to which immigrants are being detained in the United States, often right in their backyard, nor do they know how they can respond to immigrants’ needs in their community. You can be the bridge that connects them to people in detention. The first step is educating yourself. After you know more, conversations with neighbors and members of your church will come more naturally. Congregations or other faith-based institutions, community-based organizations, social service agencies, colleges and universities, and local media are all potential avenues for successful engagement.
  • Community Care. Many people released from detention often need support finding housing, accessing social services, navigating their new environment, and reunifying with family members or friends in other parts of the United States. Depending on a person’s needs, the level and kind of support will vary. It will take your own ingenuity and compassion to figure out how to deal with these needs in a responsive, compassionate way that’s appropriate for each person. But in all situations, your friendliness and support for people as they transition into a new life is incredibly valuable.
  • Advocacy. Seeing the hardships of people in detention may move you to take a stance on immigration. You may decide to take action by advocating for fair laws that recognize international human rights, prioritize family unity, and respect individuals’ rights to freedom and dignity. Being an advocate for fair alternatives to the current system is one way to go after the causes, rather than the symptoms, of the problems facing people in detention.

We know that in the U.S. immigration detention system, 400,000 individuals are detained each year. That’s 400,000 opportunities to answer Jesus Christ’s call to minister to the most vulnerable people. As you go forward, whether with making visits, advocating for just alternatives to detention, or supporting people after their release, LIRS thanks you for your strength, courage, and dedication. We hope this latest publication will support you in this critical work.

You and the people you inspire are the champions of welcome!

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