Leadership Toolkit #7 – April Issue

Leadership Toolkit, April 2013 issue
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Immigration Reform Needs Your Voice

ImmigrationReform300Few issues have been as prominent as immigration reform in the 113th Congress, and when the lawmakers return from their Easter recess next week, all eyes will be on the Senate. The senators are expected to produce a piece of legislation in coming weeks. The immigration reform battle is far from over, however, as advocacy groups are still vying to have their voice heard in the final bill. LIRS’s advocacy goals for comprehensive immigration reform include providing a roadmap to citizenship, ensuring that enforcement measures are humane and just, protecting families from separation, promoting integration of vulnerable migrants, and protecting U.S. and migrant workers.

LIRS is advocating for immigration reform both on Capitol Hill and at the state level. We have identified four key states, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina, where we are working on the grassroots level to mobilize and engage Lutheran congregations to Stand for Welcome and become champions of immigrant rights.

LIRS provides many ways to keep informed and advocate for fair and humane immigration reform; you can check out our blog for breaking news and analysis on reform efforts. Visit our Action Center and tell your elected officials to act swiftly on reform. Contact Jon Pattee, LIRS Assistant Director for Media Relations for support and resources for op-ed writing in your local newspaper. You can reach him at jpattee@lirs.org. And as comprehensive immigration reform comes closer and closer to realization, there will be many more opportunities to participate in call-in-days and rallies around the country. Thank you for standing for welcome, everyone!

Redefining Welcome Continues to Grow

Linda300LIRS President Linda Hartke’s new blog, Redefining Welcome, continues to evolve as she works to bring you the most insightful and up-to-date news and analysis every day. Her blog lifts up expert voices from around LIRS and throughout the immigrant and refugee field.

Not only do we continue to bring you the HEADLINES, Action Alerts, and Top Picks blog series, but we also recently launched a new weekly series, THE UPDATE. Each Monday, THE UPDATE provides thoughts from a panel of experts as they use their insider knowledge of Capitol Hill to scrutinize the latest news on comprehensive immigration reform. Analysts include staff at Sojourners, the Immigration Policy Center, and the ELCA. Be in the know, and visit our blog every Monday morning!

Find all of our great content not only on our blog webpage, but also on all of our social media, including our Facebook, Twitter, and newly created Pinterest pages.

Victory on VAWA/TVPRA

VAWA300The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), was passed by the House and the Senate this past February and signed into law by President Obama. This was a great victory for LIRS and advocates of justice across the country, as the act had stalled in the House of Representatives during the last term.

The enactment of VAWA will make a critical difference in the lives of thousands of women and men across the country who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. This law is also a victory for immigrants and a positive sign that lawmakers from both parties can indeed act quickly. The bill includes improvements on protections for immigrant victims of violence that LIRS has long advocated for, along with further protections for children and victims of trafficking, which are hallmarks of LIRS’s advocacy and service.

TVPRA is also an incredibly important victory for LIRS, because we anticipate that the number of unaccompanied alien children arriving to the United States will rise to an estimated 20,000 in 2013. Many of these children have suffered an enormous amount from crimes such as smuggling, sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. The TVPRA provisions are exceedingly important in providing survivors of trafficking the protection and assistance necessary to overcome the enormous trauma suffered at the hands of criminals. Both VAWA and TVPRA are great victories for LIRS’s mission and for the American people.

Invitation to Host a Stand for Welcome Sunday

SFWSunday300We are drawing nearer and nearer to the realization of comprehensive immigration reform, and there has never been a more critical time for you and your congregation to prayerfully consider taking a stand and supporting fair and humane immigration reform for all Americans and their families. You can add your voice to the conversation swirling around reform by engaging your congregation in dialogue and action around immigration.

Over this past year, churches from around the country have committed to host Stand for Welcome Sundays in their congregations. For these Sundays, LIRS provides bible studies and service guides to help you facilitate dialogue and further understanding on the topic of immigration. Stand for Welcome Sundays are also a wonderful way to engage your community in the advocacy process, making sure that your congregation’s voice is heard.

Be sure to check out all of the tools you need to host a Stand for Welcome Sunday. When you do hold an event or take an action, please let us know. We’d love to see photos, videos, and testimonies from your experience so that we can lift up your work to Congress and remind them that Lutherans care about the most vulnerable New Americans among us. You can email us at dc@lirs.org.