December 16, 2014 PRESS RELEASE — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service collects over 9,000 holiday cards for immigrant families

Press Contact: Miji Bell, (410) 230-2841

BALTIMORE, MD – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) launched its “Hope for the Holidays” campaign last month with the goal of collecting and distributing 1,700 holiday cards to each of the women and children being held in family detention facilities awaiting immigration hearings. As of this week, the Baltimore based nonprofit had far surpassed its goal, having collected over 9,300 cards from individuals, congregations, and organizations all across the nation offering messages of hope to mothers and children who have sought refuge in the United States.

Over the past year, there has been a marked increase in the number of children and families fleeing their home countries in Central America, with over 64,000 children and 6,000 families crossing the border into the U.S. In response, the federal government opened two family detention facilities in Artesia, New Mexico and in Karnes County, Texas earlier this year. A third facility in Dilley, Texas is opening this week.

“It is our hope that in some small way the cards will help to combat feelings of isolation and hopelessness that many detained families will feel at this time of year,” says Liz Sweet, director of LIRS’ Access to Justice program. “The compassion we are seeing from people all over the country who are supporting this effort has truly been heart-warming.”

The next phase of the “Hope for the Holidays” campaign is to give a gift to each child in the Karnes County Family Detention Center and the Dilley Family Detention Center in Texas. LIRS is partnering with Good News Lutheran Church in San Antonio to collect 300 gifts that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will deliver to the children.

Persons wishing to donate stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, baby items and Spanish-language books to children in detention are asked to mail unwrapped gifts by December 23rd to:

Good News Lutheran Church
11020 Old Corpus Christi Hwy
San Antonio, TX 78223

For more information, please contact LIRS at


Founded in 1939, LIRS is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.