Posts Tagged ‘immigrant rights’

Faith Leaders Call on Obama to End Inhumane Immigration Enforcement

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| Faith Leaders Call on Obama to End Inhumane Immigration Enforcement Share/Save/Bookmark Aug 27, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC  20500


Dear Mr. President,

On July 31, over 100 faith leaders and immigrant rights activists were arrested in front of the White House to urge you to end the inhumane immigration enforcement policies that are destroying families and fracturing our nation. Congress’s refusal to enact immigration reform has ensured that deportations of immigrants continue at an alarming rate. Only administrative action will stop the deportations now.

As you consider executive action to protect immigrant families, we implore you to include three things:

  1. Stop deportations immediately. Every day, roughly over 1,100 people are being forced from their homes and sent back to countries of origin that many fled for fear of poverty, hunger, and violence. Deportations are not the solution to fixing the immigration system. Stop the deportations. Stop this injustice.
  2. Expand deferred action to immigrant workers and families. You can use the power of the presidency to keep families together by granting deferred action as you did for the “Dreamers,” the children brought to this country by their parents seeking a better way of life for their families.
  3. Protect unaccompanied children who have sought refuge within the United States border. Give the children who are fleeing violence in Central America due process hearings to be considered for refugee status. Detentions and deportations are not the answers. Mercy and relief for children desperate to escape gang- and drug-related violence are needed now.

The world waits to see how you will handle our broken immigration system. Will you take the first step to finding a humane solution?

As a nation of immigrants, we must stand on the side of love with immigrant families. As a religious community, we cannot ignore the moral call to help those who are suffering. And as citizens of the world, we must respect the inherent worth and dignity of all.


In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales
President, Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
The United Methodist Church, Los Angeles Area

Rev. Dr. Susan T. Henry-Crowe
General Secretary, Board of Church and Society, the United Methodist Church

Rev. John L. McCullough
President and CEO, Church World Service

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


This letter was sent to the White House today, providing important follow-up to support the coalition of clergy and faith leaders who took action and engaged in civil disobedience to urge deferred action for the immigrant community and refugee status for children at the border on July 31, 2014.


Day 18: Let Freedom Ring

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| Day 18: Let Freedom Ring Share/Save/Bookmark Feb 05, 2013

Today is Day 18 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to ask your members of Congress to include the Uniting American Families Act in comprehensive immigration reform and help keep binational LGBTQ families together. Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

Ten years ago, I participated in the 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, journeying from San Francisco to Washington, D.C with the goal of gaining legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants. The Riders included citizens, asylees, legal permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants. Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, we too wanted freedom to ring for our families. During this third week of the Thirty Days of Love, when we “Move Beyond Borders,” I am reminded about this journey that, for me, meant crossing borders of attitude, identity, and geography.

I participated specifically to express my hope for a comprehensive immigration reform solution that included same-sex partners. Though I was not the only LGBT Rider, I was the only one vocally advocating for the plight of binational couples. I brought my own bias and stereotypes with me: I saw many other Riders as raised on farms far away from any modernity, and therefore narrow-minded. I was terrified that I would be rejected by them or, even worse, physically attacked. I was dominated by fear, and my fear made me into that which we were trying to eliminate.

Halfway across the country, homophobia came out in full force when a fellow Rider expressed displeasure with my messages of LGBT inclusion. This propelled the Ride leaders to organize an LGBT training, and I was asked to participate to translate between English and Spanish. During the Q&A portion, the older man who had complained about me came to the front of the bus to speak, and I found myself in the awkward situation of having to translate for him as he chastised my purpose for being on the trip.

The other Riders rose to my defense. I was particularly touched by one woman. Earlier in the trip, I insisted we celebrate her husband’s birthday. It was quite a party, but her husband was very quiet the whole time. Later his wife told me that he had never ever had a birthday party. He was so moved that at a distance he looked catatonic. It was this woman who spoke the most eloquently in my defense. Her words touched me so much that I sank into my seat and began to cry. I stopped and dried my tears as quickly as I could; after all, I was helping to lead a workshop. When I slowly arose and looked at the crowd, I was once again taken aback; their eyes were full of tears as well. I realized that my fellow Freedom Riders didn’t just tolerate or accept me. They loved me! And I realized that I also loved them. It was then that I realized the promise of those around me, and clearly felt freedom ring.

Ten years later, we are still seeking not just a solution to our broken immigration system, but also one that includes same-sex couples like my spouse and me. As we now appear closer than ever, please join me in sending a message of true inclusion to your members of Congress, urging them to make sure LGBTQ people are not left behind. As we break down borders of geography, let’s tear down all the barriers to keeping families together. Click here to send your message today.

In solidarity,

Marta Donayre

Immigration Reform: A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Immigration Reform: A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity Share/Save/Bookmark Dec 06, 2012

Finally, all signs indicate that we will have the chance to pass humane, inclusive immigration reform in the coming months. This once-in-a-generation opportunity comes from the phenomenal work that immigrant communities, faith groups, and others have done to build partnerships and raise voices of compassion. Now that this moment is here, it’s important that grassroots migrant groups and faith communities have their voices heard–and lead the way.

Breaking Bread and Building Bridges is an interfaith campaign that will help us achieve Compassionate Immigration Reform (CIR) at the national level by building the power and capacity of interfaith coalitions at the local level. In addition to helping make CIR a reality, the campaign will help us continue to push for needed changes in local and state policies that affect migrants.

To learn more about the changed political landscape and how you can help roll out the Breaking Bread and Building Bridges Campaign early next year, join our conference call on Monday, December 10th at 4:00pm ET.

Click here to RSVP today.

At the heart of the Breaking Bread Campaign is an activity that every faith community is familiar with – potlucks! But these potlucks are special. We ask that one congregation in your area host a potluck to which members of every faith in your community are invited. In addition to other faith communities, invite members of migrant rights organizations to Break Bread together and Build Bridges between all our communities. We suggest that you schedule your potluck(s) between January 22 and May 22, 2013.

Now is the time for us to assemble and strengthen our local coalitions. The 2012 election created a significant shift in the dialogue on humane immigration reform and the voice of the faith community needs to be part of that conversation.

Please join our conference call on Monday, December 10th at 4:00pm ET and learn how you can be a part in this critical moment. Click here to RSVP.

Yours in a Shared Faith in the inherent worth and dignity of every person,

Rev. Craig C. Roshaven
Witness Ministries Director
Unitarian Universalist Association

The Breaking Bread and Building Bridges Campaign is sponsored by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a broad based national coalition of 32 faith communities in which the Unitarian Universalist Association plays a leading role.

The message above went out on Thursday, December 5, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

A Wish for the Holidays

No Comments | Share On Facebook| A Wish for the Holidays Share/Save/Bookmark Nov 19, 2012

Last year around this time, six-year-old Kyla and eight-year-old Kiera wrote these fabulous letters to President Obama. Through the Wish for the Holidays campaign, they asked the President to end immigration policies that separate families and prioritize keeping families together.

Despite the great work of kids like Kyla and Kiera, 5.5 million children still have at least one parent who is at risk of deportation, and over five thousand children are in foster care as a result of our current immigration system. This year, thousands of children will again participate in the Wish for the Holidays campaign and write new letters to policymakers in Washington, DC expressing one, shared wish: keep all of our families together.

There is still time for the young people in your life to take part in this important work. Visit to get started.

The deadline to submit letters for this year’s Wish for the Holidays campaign is Friday, November 30.

Restore Trust & Break ICE’s Hold on Our Communities

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Late Sunday night, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the California TRUST Act, a bill that would have reestablished the trust needed for community policing by prohibiting local law enforcement from holding undocumented immigrants on Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, unless the detainee was charged or convicted of a serious felony.

We at the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry Action Network, CA are deeply disappointed in his decision. His veto puts many hardworking immigrant families at continued risk of being split by deportations, and continues to erode the trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement, compromising our community safety.

We are not giving up. Together, we can create change in California and across the country. Please join the movement to restore trust and break ICE’s hold on our communities. Click here to get involved.

While we were not able to get the Governor to sign the TRUST Act, let us not forget what we have accomplished—that the conversation has changed. The unjust “Secure Communities” program has been exposed by media throughout the nation, reaching many people who previously had no idea that the “tamale lady,” the victim of domestic violence, and the worker whose boss refused to pay him are among the 80,000 deportations in California under S-Comm.

Moreover, the fact that Governor Brown waited until the final hours of the very last day to veto the bill, demonstrates that this was not an easy decision. His eyes are being opened to the issue. In the statement the Governor issued explaining the veto, he confirms that the current Secure Communities program is unjust and offers his personal commitment to work swiftly with the legislature to fix what he identifies as the flaws in this bill.

Undocumented and mixed-status families are part of our congregations and communities. This is an especially important time to hold these families in our thoughts and prayers as well as all of the advocates who have worked so hard for justice. It is profoundly hurtful and disorienting to have your family’s safety and integrity continue to be the subject of intense political debate and public vitriol.

Change is still happening. Click here to join the “Restoring Trust: Breaking ICE’s Hold on our Communities” movement today.

It is a privilege to be a part of this movement on behalf of immigrant justice and to witness social justice advocates across the country become better informed and more engaged allies and advocates.

We are making the path by walking it.

May Love be our guide.


Rev. Lindi Ramsden
Senior Minister and Executive Director
UU Legislative Ministry and Action Network, CA

The message above went out on Friday, October 5, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.