May 5, 2021 Article:  Understanding the Root Causes of Immigration

The Fellowship is currently supporting 2 people seeking asylum in the US who live locally. One is from Guatemala and one is from El Salvador. Most of us did not get a comprehensive or even accurate education in US and world history when it comes to immigration. Most of us are unaware of how extensively the United States has been involved in Central American politics, and that the impact of that involvement is a main reason why people migrate here.

To highlight just a few points regarding US intervention in Guatemala:

  • 1920: The US sent an armed force to ensure the new president remains amenable to US corporate interests.
  • 1952: Eisenhower authorized the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected President, ending 10 years of democratic rule.
  • 1965: The CIA issued Green Berets to aid the authoritarian government in its repression of justice movements. They committed war crimes that were later compared to the Nazi extermination camps.
  • 1981: Entire villages in Guatemala were bombed and looted using military equipment from the US.
  • 2006: 70% of employers violate minimum wage and overtime standards because of free trade with US.

These dates were from “A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis,” an article by Mark Tseng-Putterman, which also shares information about El Salvador and Honduras and recommends further reading.

Link: https://medium.com/s/story/timeline-us-intervention-central-america-a9bea9ebc148

April 22, 2021 Article: Title 42

Learn: The Title 42 expulsion policy has effectively closed the US border to nearly all asylum seekers based on the misapplication of an obscure, 75-year-old public health law. That law was designed to confer quarantine authority to health authorities that would apply to everyone, including US citizens, arriving from a foreign country. The order issued by the CDC specifically bars just one category of people from entering the US: those crossing the borders from Mexico or Canada who would be held in congregate settings by US authorities, a category the order says will be primarily migrants who arrive without visas. Since March 2020, Customs and Border Protection has carried out more than 642,700 expulsions under the order, typically without conducting the required screenings.

Act: Contact President Biden and ask that the US government responds to people arriving at the border in a fair, efficient, and rights-respecting manner that also protects public health by ending summary expulsion and return, build out a humanitarian reception system, implement public health measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, provide sufficient resources and structural reforms to process asylum claims fairly and efficiently, and act quickly to address border agency impunity.

Learn more:

A Guide to Title 42 Expulsions at the Border

Human Rights Watch Q&A about Title 42

April 8, 2021 Article: Immigration Detention

Immigration Justice Education and Action

The Immigration Justice Team will be sharing a series of articles to help educate and share important actions on the many challenges within this cause.

Learn: Immigration detention is the unjust and inhumane practice of incarcerating immigrants while they await a determination of their immigration status or potential deportation. In Fiscal Year 2019, the United States government detained over 500,000 people in a sprawling system of over 200 jails across the country run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE has an appalling record of abuse. Many Americans are shocked to learn that in ICE detention centers people are deprived of their liberty, denied access to lawyers, separated from their families and loved ones, and are subject to severe medical neglect. Since 2003 over 200 people have died in ICE custody…read more HERE.

Act:

  • Join UUSC*’s Partner Detention Watch Network “Communities Not Cages Campaign” HERE.

They have relaunched the #FirstTen campaign calling on the Biden admin to take steps towards ending immigration detention by closing 10 detention facilities in 2021, including all 3 family detention centers.

*UUSC: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee


Congregational Sponsorship of an Asylum Seeker

The Fellowship is currently supporting three people seeking asylum. A person may seek asylum either at the border or within a year of entering the United State if they have a credible fear for their safety in their home country.  While authorities are reviewing the request for asylum, which can take months, the asylee (or compa, which means friend in Spanish) may stay in the U.S, but will need a sponsor who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S. During the review process, the compa is not allowed to work or receive any federal aid, so we ensure that they have their basic needs met, assist in enrolling in language classes, getting needed medical help, and making sure they have transportation to all immigration appointments in Milwaukee or Chicago. If a compa is granted asylum, they are then able to apply for a social security card and seek employment, and after a year, may apply for a green card.  Essentially they would then have the same status as a refugee.

Updated information will be added to this page and in the Weekly Scroll as we get it. We ask everyone to participate in the educational opportunities that we will offer as well as help out in any way you can.

Educational Opportunities

Watch this 9 minute video, featuring one of our compas. It is a heartbreaking reminder of how much work we have to do after the last four years of inhumane immigration policies.

Recently President Biden signed additional executive orders regarding immigration, which is a start, but more action is badly needed. The Unitarian Universalist Services Committee wrote a helpful article on this.

Opportunities to Help

To learn more about our compas and how you can help us support them, click here.

Contact Marti Wheeler, co-chair, at martiwheeler50@gmail.com for more information or to sign up.


Sanctuary Congregation Commitment

A congregation that declares itself a Sanctuary congregation is one willing to engage on a spectrum of solidarity actions including welcoming undocumented people, advocating to help stop deportations, assisting with legal clinics, and physically sheltering an immigrant in danger of immediate deportation.

Resolution voted and approved at the June 4th, 2017 Annual Meeting

Be it resolved that the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship declares itself a Sanctuary Congregation, committing ourselves to the practice of radical hospitality, offered to those who are targets of the unjust immigration laws of our government.  We commit to providing safe and welcoming living accommodations and helping to provide essentials, such as food and legal assistance, as we are able, in our building, as a place of refuge to any person or family in need, as our ministers and governing board so declare.  Additionally, this declaration of sanctuary lies both within and beyond our walls, through collaboration with other community organizations, working toward a more equitable, safe and just community for the immigrants and refugees who live here.

Building Relationships

Beyond our willingness to house a person or family, we have also committed to building relationships with our immigrant neighbors. We have partnered with Unidos Por Un Futuro Mejor, a local immigrants led group, whose “objective of is to educate the immigrants of our community about their rights and to promote community organization. We seek to address the inequalities and obstacles facing our specific immigrant community and particularly here in the Fox Cities.”

Click to learn how to be an ally

The Many Forms of Sanctuary

Some of the many forms of action we and other congregations have taken or are planning include:

  • Accompany community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation on a case-by-case basis
  • Advocate to stop unjust deportation policies
  • Amplify the moral imperative to stop deportations by lifting up the stories of sanctuary cases
  • Defend administrative policies such as prosecutorial discretion to win stays of deportation and to keep sacred spaces and schools protected under the Sensitive Locations