Rapid Response Team Report: Immigration Ministries – 04/21/2020

Rapid Response Team
Chairperson: Rev. Lydia Muñoz & Ruth Daughtery

Report submitted by: Rev. Lydia Muñoz
Email: lydiaem0501@gmail.com
Phone: (215) 687-1368
Date submitted: 04/21/2020


Recent Events & Activities

Most of our activities revolve around national phone calls sponsored by GBCS where we participate to gather information regarding policy, advocacy and what other conference areas are engaged in regarding immigration advocacy.

Rev. Mark Salvacion is working with L. Muñoz in the continued formation of the JFON (Justice for our Neighbors Clinic) due to a personal issue, Rev. Salvacion was unable to continue in this work for a while in order to recover from a bad assault that he experienced.  However, we are now moving forward with developing our objectives and working alongside with the national office for JFON.

Below are the notes from our last conference call.

RRT Call- General Board of Church and Society
April 17, 2020   9am PT/12pm ET

Opening prayer -Donna Veatch

Participants:
Melissa Bowe, NJFON Program and Advocacy Manager
Claudia Marchan, Executive Director Northern IL JFON
Laurian Lytle, Church of the Resurrection, Great Plains Conference. Invited by Sandy Sypherd, teaches
Donna Veatch, conference committee on immigrant refugee ministries GBGM, Conference Board of C&S, Wisconsin
Carlos Reyes Rodriguez, Hispanic Latino ministries coordinator Peninsula Delaware Conference
Nadia K, Northern IL Conference immigration team
Abel Vega, Rio Texas Conference, Texas Border Collaboration Network- advocacy, legal support, direct services, hospitality connections.
-Texas Impact lead of advocacy coordination

Rev. Nicole Crouch, New Mexico Annual Conference
Rev. Lydia Muñoz, Eastern Penn Conference

Policy Advocacy Updates

Jeania Ree: within COVID-19 legislation there has been concerted effort to leave out certain communities. Church and Society is advocating for the inclusion of migrants in COVID funding. Related to the monies being moved at this time. (Stimulus checks, government programs, etc.)

There has been focus on ensuring that the government continues to fund the refugee resettlement program, and government programs related to welcoming refugees.

Southern border closure, halted entry to asylum seekers and unaccompanied children. Advocating for government policies that are supposed to function, continues to function during this time. (asylum/refugee)

A lot of attention to detention facilities-detainees don’t have freedom and are particularly vulnerable during this time. Efforts to release detained migrants.

Attention to the intersection between immigration and domestic violence. Wave of attention and fear for people who’s situation at home is not safe.

DACA recipients/Dreamers/broader undocumented community. The Supreme Court decision is expected any Monday as early as Monday, April 20, 2020. A pandemic is not a safe time to further destabilize DACA recipients and their families. It is important to make clear that we stand with DACA recipients and their families.

Increased efforts of lifting up DACA stories in this time, using the message of delaying the decision during COVID. Successful campaign – media hits.

Rebecca: Invitation for people of faith to write Letters to the Editor. Hoping to place and publish these ASAP while we await the decision. Are you interested in writing a Letter to the Editor?
Please use this LTE toolkit to write your letter!

Planned activities once the decision is released:

#HomeIsHere virtual rally the day of the decision.
Then, 48-72 hours: safe spaces for DACA recipients and their families to process.

The Unafraid documentary screening and webinar discussion on Tuesday, April 21 at 8-9pm ET. Thank you to all who registered. We’ll have speakers from multiple immigrant led and immigrant allied organizations.
If you weren’t able to register and are interested in participating, please email us (rcole@umcjustice.org, jmoore@umcjustice.org) to receive the links.

Detention:

Many organizing efforts around the dire situations at detention facilities in this COVID-19 time. Family members of those detained are uniting around the country to #FreeThemAll, by demanding that all detained people be released #FreeAndAlive immediately. They are organizing a series of national days of actions – starting today (Thursday, April 16th), and continuing next Friday, April 24th and have invited all of us to join them.  

The next National Day of Action will be next Friday, April 24th. Jeania Ree and Rebecca will send out information on how to participate in the national day of action.

Bishop Carcano, Cal Nevada Annual Conference, along with three other CA Bishops published this Op-Ed:  “A cry for justice from detained immigrants,” It ran April 16 in all 11 SoCal News Group papers, including the OC Register and LA Daily News.

We encourage all of you to amplify this piece through your annual conference networks, on social media, and with others. We are grateful for Bishop Carcano’s leadership.

Melissa Bowe, NJFON will send out a resource that is helpful from the immigration hub, providing a summary of the different sign-on opportunities. The second part of the email outlines the daily actions.

Question from the group: How do we identify who needs questions answered to feel empowered to join?

Suggestion to provide tech support for the RRT and broader United Methodist network. Some have more time right now– people who are home, retired, and may not be caregiving for family members. Can C&S/RRT offer spaces to equip/empower folks to participate in online/virtual actions. Test run for tech opportunities.

Updates from teams on the ground

Claudia Marchan, N.IL JFON- will share a training video on Op-Ed’s from her professor, suggestion for our RRT network to put together a training on how to write Op-Ed’s and put our stories/experiences on paper.

Strategy- what would you like to see our network do together? What do people think we should/can do right now?

Abel Vega, Rio TX: potential strategizing with Texas Impact for Texas focused actions.

Carlos Reyes Rodriguez: Pen-Del Hispanic Latino Ministries is collaborating with Church and Society to offer:

Virtual Storysharing Tours:
Dreamers connecting, engaging, and advocating for immigrant justice.

Invite Annual Conferences/immigrant justice teams to host a virtual storysharing event that will include:
Prayer, Biblical-Theological foundation, DACA Speakers’ experience, social analysis, and collective commitment to advocacy in action.
*See attached flyer and watch this video to learn more: https://youtu.be/5GEhRSqVq2o

Donna Veatch: collaborate on ideas for worship for churches, Potential mission moments during worship, actions people can take throughout the week, help us have some information/data from detention centers-how many people are sick?, etc. Solicit prayers, letter writing actions, etc. Virtual Storysharing could be in place of Virtual Sunday school classes

Upcoming Events & Activities

Please see above details.  These are national calls.  Our next one is scheduled for next month.