May 31, 2012 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Grants Partner Organizations $10K for Immigration Detention Visitation

Press Contact: Jon Pattee, LIRS Assistant Director for Media Relations
202-591-5778, jpattee@lirs.org

BALTIMORE, MD May 31, 2012 —  In recognition of their commitment to standing with people negatively impacted by the U.S. immigration detention system, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) today announced $10,000 in grants to churches and groups involved in immigration detention visitation.

LIRS’s 2012 grantees are:

Santa Isabel Lutheran Church – Elizabeth, NJ
Interfaith Coalition on Immigration – New Brighton, MN
Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod – Houston, TX
El Refugio Visitation Program, Alterna – LaGrange, GA
Lutheran Social Services of Georgia – Atlanta, GA
Pueblo de Esperanza – Baltimore, MD
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church – San Diego, CA
La Frontera Ministries International Inc. – San Antonio, TX
Cristo Rey Lutheran Church, East Moline, IL

“We’re excited to partner with these churches and organizations in our work to welcome newcomers in the United States,” said Megan Bremer, Director of Access to Justice, the LIRS unit under which the grant was made. “Visitation to immigrants in detention is a powerful ministry, and LIRS is glad to have all of these allies, who are dedicated to reminding people in detention that they are not alone.”

“We hope the grants help these partners link their detention visitation with local Lutheran institutions and congregations that may be interested in learning more about this work,” said Bremer.

“In the U.S. immigration detention system, 400,000 people are detained each year,” said Bremer. “Matthew 25 tells us specifically to visit people in prison.”

LIRS will host an online training for grantees on July 11 from 1:00-2:30pm EDT. LIRS staff and volunteer visitors will discuss visitation ministry basics, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility access policies, and what concerned people can do to advocate for a more just and humane immigration system. Interested parties can register for the webinar.

More resources can be found at Immigration “Mythbuster,”  Detention Visitation, and Alternatives to Detention.

About LIRS
LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating on behalf of 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.