As a nation built by immigrants, America should maintain our history of hospitality to people who come to our shores seeking safety and opportunity. With a vigorous voice, LIRS brings this message of welcome to our country’s halls of power.
In all policy changes, LIRS works to ensure that vulnerable newcomers are protected. We draw upon expertise serving unaccompanied children, torture survivors and other migrants at risk. We monitor issues such as human trafficking, international humanitarian disasters and immigrant detention as they impact the migrants we serve.
In a joint 2007 report entitled “Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families,” Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service exposed the practice of detaining families in prisonlike settings and made recommendations for extensive reforms of the immigration detention system.
In 2011, years of advocacy to increase visitation access for immigrants in detention was rewarded with a landmark policy change. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a streamlined procedure for requesting access to visit detainees in all federal immigration detention facilities. And for the first time, a procedure was included that enables people in detention to request to be visited. LIRS applauds this compassionate act and is gratified to see it encourage more visitation ministry around the country.
LIRS’s report “Unlocking Liberty: Way Forward for U.S. Immigration Detention Policy,” released in 2011, continues to advance our advocacy for migrants impacted by detention.