Leadership Toolkit #4 – October Issue

Leadership Toolkit, October 2012 edition
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DREAMers and Deferred Action

LIRS applauded as President Obama’s deferred action program went into effect on August 16. The program allows immigrants younger than 31 who came to America under the age of 16 and have lived in the United States for over five years to apply for employment authorization and deferred removal. Learn more about deferred action here.

The Administration’s deferred action process is, indeed, welcome, but it is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform. We at LIRS hope to continue to hear reports that the process is fair and accessible and to see that its benefits outweigh the risks for these promising young people.

Almost as soon as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) went into effect, however, Gov. Jan Brewer issued a denial of benefits to DREAMers. Her action aims at preventing access for DREAMers to driver’s licenses, bank accounts, etc.

Please join us in supporting deferred action and DREAMers, and tell lawmakers in Arizona and all over the nation you oppose extreme anti-immigrant laws and policies. Visit our advocacy Action Center today to send a letter to your representatives showing your support for deferred action and the DREAMers!

LIRS End Human Trafficking Campaign!

ELCA YouthLIRS End Human Trafficking Campaign  LIRS and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) are unveiling a new campaign against this brutal crime, which may be closer to you than you think. The United States is a major transit hub for trafficking, as over 15,000 people are trafficked across our borders annually. Victims are being trafficked in every state and major city in the United States. You can learn more about human trafficking and educate others with our e-learning module and other educational materials.

Trafficking may even be happening right in your neighborhood, and we need your help to stop it. Think about how you can your engage your community at your school, work, or place of worship by educating others to advocate for the rights of trafficked individuals. Together we can End Human Trafficking! Learn more about our End Human Trafficking campaign here.


National Immigrant Integration Conference Held in Baltimore

Threats to Refugee NewcomersLIRS staff had the privilege of presenting at the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC 2012) in Baltimore this September 22-25.

The annual conference, which tackles the issues surrounding immigrant integration, was created to promote dialogue among immigration experts and professionals working in the field. The aim is to focus on programs that empower immigrants and refugees and strengthen their lives and their communities.

Here are some highlights of LIRS’s involvement with NIIC 2012:

  • LIRS Vice President of Mission Advancement  Stacy Martin helped pioneer this year’s emphasis on refugee issues.
  • Project Director for Community Conversations Fabio Lomelino led a workshop exploring the divisions within the work of welcoming newcomers.
  • Interim Director for Access to Justice Megan Bremer facilitated a group discussion.
  • LIRS board member Rev. Thon Chol and LIRS leader Checago Bright-Sawo, both former refugees, headed panel discussions.
  • LIRS hosted a screening of the PBS documentary “America by the Numbers” at our headquarters.

For more information on this year’s conference and LIRS’s involvement, please click here. You can click here for information on the conference’s mission and how to get involved next year.

Grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries to Expand Detention Visitation Programs

Threats to Refugee NewcomersWheat Ridge Ministries has announced a $10,000 grant to help LIRS develop its Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry. Wheat Ridge’s generous assistance will help LIRS respond to the outpouring of support and enthusiasm that the visitation program has evoked in LIRS’s partners around the country. Wheat Ridge Vice President for Ministry Programs Brian Becker said his nonprofit organization, which helps health and human care initiatives get off the ground by providing the initial funding and support, is excited to be able to support LIRS’s work.

“The Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry will go a long way to bring hope and healing to those being held in immigration detention,” Becker told LIRS staff.

LIRS’ visitation ministries helps organizations and congregations all over the country send representatives to visit immigrants held in detention facilities. These volunteer leaders provide a compassionate presence for people who often feel isolated and powerless. At the same time, people involved in visitation ministry help raise awareness of the detention crisis in their own communities. More information on how to volunteer here.

In addition to promoting visitation ministries nationwide,  LIRS also works to advocates for community-based alternatives to detention that are more humane, successful, and cost-effective. More information on alternatives to detention here

LIRS’ Revamped Community Conversations Program

Threats to Refugee NewcomersCommunity leaders hailing from San Diego, Postville, Philadelphia, and everywhere in between convened for LIRS’s Community Conversation’s September 13-15 training in Baltimore, before heading home to foster conversation, learning, and positive action around the theme of creating welcoming communities.

The objective of the Community Conversations training was to build a community of like-minded, passionate people to share their ideas and experiences while learning models of facilitating dialogue. Additionally, though, this training strove to energize activists so they can replicate their Community Conversations experience on a local level to bring about further change and understanding in their own communities. Learn more about Community Conversations and how you can be involved.