We have been deeply encouraged by the many of you who are seeking (and finding) ways of responding to the migrant caravan. We're also grateful to the MANY groups and organizations, formal and informal, that are taking action. We've compiled here some ways you and your church might get involved -- from simple ideas such as providing financial support to more challenging ones like acts of resistance along the border. Whatever you feel called to do, we hope that this compilation will be a support to you.
If you have ideas and stories to add, please email LeDayne McLeese Polaski at [email protected]
Advent should admonish us to discover
in each brother or sister that we greet,
in each friend whose hand we shake,
in each beggar who asks for bread,
in each worker who wants to use the right to join a union,
in each peasant who looks for work in the coffee groves,
the face of Christ.
Then it would not be possible to rob them,
to cheat them,
to deny them their rights.
They are Christ,
and whatever is done to them
Christ will take as done to himself.
This is what Advent is:
Christ living among us.
--Oscar Romero, December 3, 1978
Migrant Caravan: Answers to your most pressing questions from the Latin America Working Group
This piece is a little dated, but it still offers some solid facts.
Fact sheet from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
Training videos from Sanctuary Caravan
Videos on accompaniment, volunteering in the pro se legal clinic, witnessing, and histories of migration.
How You Can Help as Migrant Caravans Arrive at the U.S. Border from Yes! Magazine
These are steps you can take right now to assist the refugees, who have risked everything to escape extreme poverty, gang violence, and political instability at home.
OFFER FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Long-term member and partner Ray Schellinger is involved in an effort to equip and resource Mexican churches as they work to be a pastoral presence in the lives of the many migrants currently living in Tijuana as they await an opportunity to apply for asylum. Ray will be directly involved in the distribution of these funds to churches that are housing and serving migrants.
In recent weeks, much attention has been focused upon the migrant caravan moving north through Mexico composed of men, women and children fleeing violence in Central America and hoping to legally be granted asylum in the United States. Some groups have already reached the Mexican border city of Tijuana and joined the hundreds of others already there waiting for asylum processing. It is expected to take months to process this entire group. IM relates to a number of churches and partners which are gearing up to offer housing, food, and services for the duration. Obviously the needs are huge, and the capacity of our partners to respond to these needs is limited. Your gifts to this project will enable IM to come alongside our partners and join their efforts to provide food, shelter, and spiritual support to the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers on the very doorstep of our country (Matthew 25:37-40).
Click here to give securely by credit card. Scroll down to “I Would Like to Support” and click on the drop down menu. Select: Mexico and Central America Migrant Ministry.
To give by mail, make your check payable to International Ministries. Write Mexico and Central America Migrant Ministry on the memo line. Mail to:
1003 W. 9th Ave. Ste A
King of Prussia, PA 19406
BE PRESENT AT THE BORDER
Opportunity for Faith Leaders to take part in an action with the American Friends Service Committee
December 9-10, 2018
On Dec. 10, more than 100 faith leaders from across the United States will take part in an action at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California. We invite you to join us in taking action, which will be preceded by a training and interfaith service on Dec. 9. Please indicate if you are a faith leader on the registration form. Please plan to arrive in San Diego by noon on Dec. 9 to participate in these events. More details will be forthcoming. Click here to register for this action.
The New Sanctuary Coalition is resolved to choose the side of liberty and equality. We are resolved to sacrifice in solidarity with those leaders of liberty and pioneers of equality who are nonviolently asserting their right to migrate by moving their caravan of brave souls across the U.S./Mexican border. We are resolved to form a U.S. Caravan of supporters who will meet the Central American Caravan in Mexico, witness their movement, and accompany them into the U.S. At the border, we will assist those seeking entry with their demands to enter the US without losing their liberty.
Christmas in Tornillo
Christmas at Tornillo is an effort to draw activists from across the country to witness the horror that is a child internment camp located in Tornillo, TX. This movement is hoping to draw national attention to not only Tornillo, but the remaining camps across the country, and create a long term effort to demand all remaining camps be closed and the children released.
There is a concentration camp for children in the middle of the desert!! I have seen it with my own eyes. It is a mere 20 miles from El Paso, Texas on US Soil. Currently, there are about 2400 children there from the ages of 13 to 17 with more coming. The camp which was supposed to be temporary and closed by the end of the year has a capacity for 3200 and is expanding.
My name is Elizabeth Vega, I am a Chicana organizer in St. Louis. I co-founded Artivists STL, the collective that did Requiem for Mike Brown, the mirrored casket project and sent shields to Standing Rock. Last week on an exploratory visit I connected with other brown organizers. We want to do something about this prison camp because what we saw shook us to our core.
There are black plastic tarps around the perimeter of the fencing. This prevents the children from looking out and outside folks from seeing in.
We walked around the camp, pulled away the plastic. We saw numerous kids being walked in a line to a massive tent. "You are not alone! No estas solo!" Some children raised their fists like us. Others wept. Some simply walked with their heads down.
This is their routine. They are marched tent to tent from where they sleep, to where they attend classes IN ENGLISH, to an hour of field time where they play soccer; Always in quiet long lines. They are fed food that comes from a vending machine, packages of processed sandwiches, cookies and cereal; nothing that speaks of basic human compassion much less home.
The most offensive evil being done is that the children are being used as bait. ICE has taken over the screening of parents and sponsors trying to retrieve children. They tell families that they must list everyone who will be in the child's sphere for their safety. They run background checks on everyone on the list and then deport those who are not documented. Families are now terrified to even apply to get their children. Those who do get to go home are awakened at midnight. They are not allowed to say goodbye to the friends they made while in the camp. Those left behind wake up to an empty cot.
Here is the thing. This area has always been a testing ground. If they are building tent detention camps for brown kids from other countries, it is only a matter of time before US juveniles will be housed in this way. Currently there is very little resistance. There is tremendous caring and advocacy but not resistance in the form of protests, occupations and blockades.
For this reason, I am reaching out and asking for direct support from other organizations like yours, as we organize to mobilize a large witnessing presence for five days possibly longer at Tornillo.
Christmas in Tornillo will be a tenacious creative RESISTANCE loud and colorful enough the children inside can hear and see us! We want to do a Posada around the perimeter of the camp, banner drops, and creative street theater blockades. Currently one group has already committed 200 people. We are getting similar interest in St. Louis. We just need resources to pull it off effectively. We needed funding for buses or RV's, real logistical help including legal support and medics and of course courageous people to bear witness to this atrocity.
I know it is a big vision but both the will and need are there.
TAKE ACTION LOCALLY
If you are unable to go to the border, American Friends Service Committee is offering support for people to find or organize a local action between December 10-18. Click here for more information.
Call Your Representatives
Call your representatives in Congress and urge them to do everything they can to stop the violence at our border.
Here are a couple of sample scripts:
Sample script 1: “Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m calling because I’m very concerned about what is happening at the southern border and I urge you to do everything you can to ensure that our government refrain from using excessive force against unarmed asylum-seekers. Instead of separating families at the border, I hope that you will vote for Congress to de-fund further militarization of the border and instead demand more accountability for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Thank you.”
Sample Script 2: “I’m your constituent from [City, State, Congregation], and [as a person of faith], I urge you to affirm the right of all people to seek asylum and protection. Central American families – men, women and children – are fleeing safety wherever they can. This must be treated as a humanitarian crisis and refugee situation, rather than an as an immigration enforcement issue. I call on you to do everything in your power to ensure the administration processes and welcomes asylum seekers and upholds family unity. To turn them away, incarcerate or prosecute them, or separate their families runs counter to our moral duty to ensure that people are properly screened to determine if they qualify as trafficking victims, asylum seekers, or others in need of protection. My community welcomes asylum seekers and immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”
Pledge to stand in solidarity with people seeking refuge and asylum
From Faith in Public Life:
As politicians try to divide us against one another according to race, ethnicity, and or nationality, we remain united and steadfast in our conviction that all people deserve dignity, respect, and equity, and that together we can make such a world possible. We are people of faith and conscience, coming from a long tradition of welcoming the sojourner and loving our neighbor and, following the example of our sacred texts, pledge our commitment to be good neighbors to those seeking refuge in our community, and to build a community where all are welcome.
PEOPLE OF FAITH AND CONSCIENCE ARE PLEDGING TO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH PEOPLE SEEKING REFUGE.
- Speak Truth: I pledge to speak the truth about our human family fleeing danger and reject the dishonest and xenophobic narrative would have me view them as a threat;
- Accompany: I pledge to physically accompany those who are seeking safety in the United States OR I pledge to support the people in my community and at the border who are accompanying asylum seekers;
- Advocate and Organize: I pledge to take action and hold elected leaders accountable for dehumanizing those seeking protection from persecution and violence. Alongside community members, I pledge to include and advocate for immigrant families and individuals in my community.
Click here to sign the pledge. #AsylumIsLegal
WRITINGS FROM THE BPFNA ~ BAUTISTAS POR LA PAZ NETWORK
A Reflection on the Migrant Caravan
by Hortensia Picos Lee
"Recently we have been listening a lot in Mexico, thanks to the information disseminated in the media and social networks, about the phenomenon of the migrant caravan that began its journey through Mexico from October 2018, with the objective of reaching The United States of America. A contingent of approximately 8,400 people, mainly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, left Central America and have been traveling through Mexico to go to the United States of America. This form of mobilization of migrants from Central America is not something new at all, for at least ten years these types of mobilizations have been carried out in caravans organized by groups of activists in southern Mexico, in a time close to the Easter time. But this mobilization has attracted the attention of the Mexican media and the United States, due to the situation of the arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency of the latter country in 2017 and the harsh measures that he has announced will apply to the members of this caravan who intend to cross the border."
Una Reflexión Sobre la Caravana Migrante
de Hortensia Picos Lee
"Recientemente hemos estado escuchando mucho en México, gracias a la información difundida en los medios de comunicación y las redes sociales, sobre el fenómeno de la caravana de migrantes que comenzó su viaje a través de México desde octubre de 2018, con el objetivo de llegar a los Estados Unidos de América. Un contingente de aproximadamente 8,400 personas, principalmente de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, salieron de América Central y viajaron a través de México para ir a los Estados Unidos de América. Esta forma de movilización de los migrantes de América Central no es algo nuevo, ya que durante al menos diez años se han llevado a cabo movilizaciones de este tipo en caravanas organizadas por grupos de activistas en el sur de México, en un tiempo cercano a la Pascua. Pero esta movilización ha atraído la atención de los medios de comunicación mexicanos y de los Estados Unidos, debido a la situación de la llegada de Donald Trump a la presidencia de este último país en 2017 y las duras medidas que anunció que se aplicarán a los miembros de la caravana que pretenden cruzar la frontera."