Congregational Sponsorship of an Asylum Seeker
The Immigration Justice Committee has been exploring the idea of supporting someone 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. The Fellowship cannot be the sponsor, but we will offer full support to the compa and their sponsor. During the review process, the compa is not allowed to work or receive any federal aid, so this is where the Fellowship’s support comes in. We would 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 an 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.
- White Supremacy Culture Characteristics Conversations: Led by Mia Ljung and Brian Looker, each month we will dig into three of the characteristics and talk about ways of counteracting the harm they cause. 4th Wednesday of the month from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Fellowship
- Upstander/Bystander Training: Led by Fit Oshkosh, all are welcome to attend this community event to interrupt racist comments and behaviors. Held at Lawrence University. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/3002548303302880/
Opportunities to Help
We are looking for people to help with each of these teams. Contact Marti Wheeler, co-chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.
- Legal Team
- Fundraising Team
- Essential Needs Team (food, clothing, etc)
- Services Needs Team (medical, school, etc)
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.
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.”
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
Contact Marti Wheeler, co-chair, at email@example.com.