Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants were being deported each month, a number exceeding that of all past presidents combined. Members of Congress, including civil rights icon, John Lewis, were arrested in an effort to change the president’s mind. Immigrant organizations, such as CASA and CARECEN were holding rallies in support of targeted immigrants and going to jail. 80 clergy and lay leaders, including Amanda Poppei, were arrested at the White House, drawing attention to the crisis. And this was under Obama…
Fast forward to 2016:
Trump conducted a racist campaign calling immigrants criminals and rapists.
In 2017 he ended legal status for 700,000 DACA (Dreamers) youth. He revoked Protective Status for 437,000 refugees, knowing these actions would rip families apart. He implemented a Muslim Ban.
In 2018, Trump began a punitive campaign to deter asylum-seekers by separating very young children from their parents. This is the face of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant program.
Can we afford to sit this one out?
WES is taking Ethical Action in support of immigrants, including:
* Posting a large sign in front of our building, supporting a “Path to Citizenship” for 11 million undocumented immigrants
* Creating the Immigration Film Festival
* Founding member congregation of (DMV) Sanctuary Congregations Network and supporting Sanctuary DMV.
* Passing a resolution at Membership Meeting that supports making Temporary Protective Status (TPS) permanent for over 300,000 eligible immigrants.
* Creating the WES Refugee Resettlement Team to mentor and support a family of Afghan refugees in 2017. With WES support, these new immigrants achieved hard-won self-sufficiency by 2018.
* Working with CASA to register young DACA (“Dreamers”) who are eligible for legal status because their parents brought them to the U.S. as minor children.
* Housing 16 DACA activists from Tennessee in sleeping bags in the WES Meeting Hall, as they lobbied Congress.
* Supporting our Muslim friends who share space at WES and offering a “Know Your Rights” immigration workshop and resources for legal representation.
* Working with the Washington Interfaith Network to push the Mayor and Council to fund legal defense for targeted immigrants.
* Attending town hall meetings, as local and state governments attempt to pass legislation to support and protect immigrants.
* Accompanying targeted immigrants, whose families are being torn apart by ICE, to their check-in appointments in Baltimore.
* Attending rallies to protest deportations, breaking up of families, the trashing of DACA and TPS.
* Housing and supporting Monika, a transgender asylum-seeker from El Salvador.
* Creating a Sister Community with El Rodeo, El Salvador. Yearly visits allow WES teens and adults to see and feel the “push and pull” of migration firsthand.
* Supporting Carlos, our dear friend from El Rodeo and a police officer who crossed the border fleeing gang violence. He has applied for asylum.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT WES:
PLATFORM: Sunday, 10/21/18. Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, ”What Is Sanctuary?”
At 1:00 p.m., you are invited to join other WES members to share your own or family’s immigration stories, or to hear the stories of others-an opportunity to connect and experience the way that immigration touches so many of our lives.
Immigration Film Fest (IFF) at WES & National Cathedral
October 27-28, 2018:
WES members Patti Absher and Judith Johnson founded IFF to screen films about and by immigrants, with panel discussions by international filmmakers and immigration advocates. IFF 2018 is the Fifth Year of WES presenting our films & programs: all open to the general public. Our IFF audiences grow each year. IFF 2018 is focusing on the moral issues of migration from an interfaith perspective. On Sat. October 27th, WES will present an afternoon of powerful films along with a “Taking Action Tent” in front of WES. The tent will be staffed with WES and UU immigration activists. Representatives from interfaith and nonprofit immigration organizations will also be there to offer volunteer opportunities and answer your questions. The Washington National Cathedral co-hosts with IFF an interfaith panel of speakers on immigration and a series of short dramas on Sunday, October 28. See the IFF 2018 website at https://immigrationfilmfest.org
In this dark time, we are called to Ethical Action. We value human dignity and worth over racism and division. The creative force that is WES is powerful and the need is great. Action is the antidote to feeling helpless. WES is committed to make it easier to join in at any level by offering a wide range of ethical actions to engage in this fall.
Onward, through the fog…
– Katherine O’Kester & Ross Wells