A Snapshot of Asylum Policies at the Border: June 2020

(Interfaith Immigration Coalition) – There is not just one, but many, asylum policies and practices that impact the US-Mexico border. Individually and collectively, each policy has made it confusing and difficult, if not impossible, for those fleeing violence, conflict and persecution- on account of race, nationality, religion, political opinion and/or social group- to seek asylum in the United States. Amidst the chaos of numerous overlapping policies in operation at the border, Covid-19 has come to define the border as the overarching threat to the sanctity of our asylum system.  This document offers a brief explanation of the key asylum policies that our currently impacting the border, starting with the most recent policy that has used the mask of our public health crisis to effectively end asylum at the border for the foreseeable future. Go here to see: A Snapshot of Asylum Policies at the Border: June 2020

Refugee and Immigration Ministries Responds to Closure of Asylum Opportunities at the Border

During COVID-19: DisciplesofChristRIM CommentsCDC-2020-0033 InterimFinalRule April232020UPD

Picture at left from Brownsville, Valentine’s Day action sharing love with asylum seekers being bused, then flown back to conditions of violence in the countries from which they’d fled. Center, tent city of migrants returned to Mexico, beneath the border bridge in Matamoros. Photos courtesy of Julia Paley, Religious Action Center.

JOIN #FAITH4ASYLUM EFFORTS TO SUPPORT ASYLUM SEEKERS AND CHANGE ASYLUM POLICIES CURRENTLY HARMING THEM!!

Picture above at Capitol Hill #Faith4Asylum vigil on Capitol Hill, Jan. 29, 2020.

As Disciples, we participate with multiple partners in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to help lead a national campaign to raise faith voices against the suffering of asylum seekers, worsened by policies that keep children and families in tent cities, disallow them from claiming protections that are guaranteed by national and international law, limit access to vital legal assistance, and even return individuals and families directly into the dangers of their home nations from which they have fled.

Go to: www.Faith4Asylum.com to learn much more about how you can join the campaign, and join in prayers and actions to help!

See here: for a toolkit to raise awareness in your congregation about current policies that are multiplying suffering at our borders.

See here: for a family and child friendly resource to use with families in your congregation and community.

Read here: a “Responsive Prayer for Asylum Seekers” written by retired Disciples clergy Martha Jolly, which she led on 2/14/2020 as part of an Interfaith Prayer Circle with #Faith4Asylum at Xeriscape Park in Brownsville, Texas.

PRAYER CIRCLE AT THE BORDER

Brownsville, TX – February 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm CST, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders are coming together in Brownsville, Texas, for an interfaith vigil, praying for an end to callous policies that restrict asylum. 

WHAT: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders pray for end to fatal asylum policies
WHEN: Friday, February 14th, 3:30 pm CST
WHERE: Xeriscape Park, International Boulevard and W. University Boulevard Brownsville, TX (livestream will be available at Facebook event link)

WHO:

Julia Paley, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Martha Jolly, Disciples clergy (retired), Columbia, Missouri
Rabbi Frank Joseph, Temple Beth Israel, Harlingen
Mohammed & Ruth Nasrullah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and Multi Cultural Center (Houston); Team Brownsville
Pastor Abraham Barberi, Comunidad Esencia Urbana, Matamoros, Mexico
Father Tony O’Connor 

Organizational Hosts: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Clear Lake Islamic Center, Multi Cultural Center, Refugee and Immigration Ministries Disciples Home Missions, Interfaith Immigration Coalition

Background: The current U.S. asylum system is failing individuals and families.

Two-thirds of Central American asylum seekers arriving in the U.S. have had a loved one killed, kidnapped, or “disappeared.” Yet Immigration Judges, under the oversight of the U.S. Justice Department, continue to deny them asylum and send them back to the danger they fled. Hundreds of people have been killed or attacked after being denied asylum and deported, or while being forced to remain in Mexico under the callous “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP).

Increasingly, asylum-seekers from Africa and other continents across the globe are arriving to find our borders closed to them, no matter the violence and deadly repression they fled.

The administration is also sending asylum-seekers from El Salvador and Honduras to Guatemala and forcing them to apply for safety there, a country that has its own share of refugees fleeing danger. The fatal consequences seen in MPP will only multiply and continue under the so-called “asylum cooperation agreement” policy.

This event is part of the #Faith4Asylum initiative, which has been stepping up with acts of prayer and action in support of asylum-seekers and calling for an end to policies that put their lives in danger. See the campaign website: https://faith4asylum.com/. See the Facebook Event for updates and a livestream.

The prayer service takes place amidst the Witness at the Border to Restore Asylum, which runs from February 14-17.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. 

Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm

UNDERSTANDING ASYLUM & HOW WE CAN HELP ASYLUM SEEKERS:

Hear the heart of Rev. Terri Hord Owens and other Faith Leaders who Voice Staunch Support for Asylum Seekers, and Urge the President to Uphold Protections for Vulnerable Families and Individuals:

Faith Leaders Respond to Trump Sending of Troops and Asylum Removal 103018FINAL

See this Sermon by Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, based upon Micah 2:12-13, and referring to the movement of Central Americans seeking asylum:Breach Beyond Barriers sermon2, Micah 2 for sharing 102818

What is ASYLUM?  What are America’s current regulations and practices about who can apply? Learn more HERE, from the American Immigration Council.

See These Interfaith Talking Points on Central American Migrants Seeking Asylum Protections:  Migrant Caravan Interfaith Talking Points updated103118

What Can Disciples Do to Help Humanitarian Needs of Asylum Seekers?  Read here for more information about the work of SWGSM and Rev. Feliberto, with our collaborative shelter project, Casa Bugambilia, in Metamoros, Mexico, along the southern border near Brownsville, Texas:  https://www.globalministries.org/a_walking_crisis_in_central_america

Learn More About the Migrant Caravan and Central American Networks of Shelters that Serve Them from our Ministry Partners in Central America.  Read the insights of Ricardo Mayol, who serves with our partners at the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (CECG):  https://www.globalministries.org/the_migrant_caravan

HOW CAN WE HELP THE CHILDREN AND OTHER ASYLUM SEEKERS NOW?

See here 5 Key Ways we can help the children seeking asylum NOW!!:

*Print out the image at left to  share with your congregation.  Also, use this “4 per page” as a handout for your church members and community:  5 Ways to Help Children on the Border, 4 per page handout

*Please note that congregations and individuals are NOT allowed to send toothbrushes, clothes, or other items directly into the government facilities that have recently received criticism!

*However, be sure to go to: bit.ly/help4fams for more information about specific ways to engage in advocacy, as well as direct support for shelters already assisting migrants.

*Keep giving to Week of Compassion, to strengthen our Disciples’ efforts to support shelters receiving hundreds of new asylum seekers daily.

*Do not neglect to ADVOCATE as advised in the alert.  It is POLICIES that are holding children in unsafe conditions, and our faith voices are desperately needed to weigh in about our values, to help CHANGE them!

Please check back often for additional resources about ways you can assist asylum seekers!!