As United Methodists we believe that the injunction issued in February that has temporarily delayed President Obama’s Executive Order intended to bring relief to immigrant families will be set aside. As immigrant families prepare for this good day there are ways we can help:
- We highly encourage United Methodists to work closely with Justice for Our Neighbor (JFON) sites when they are nearby. JFON and other legal clinics will need volunteers.
- Local churches can host trusted local nonprofit immigration legal services providers to conduct information sessions and workshops in their church on what the Executive Order provides, who is eligible for relief under it, and what persons will need to apply.
- Identify a local organization working with the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA)-eligible community and work with them.
- Provide other supportive programs that are often needed among immigrant communities including ESL programs, tax preparedness programs, and anti-fraud initiatives. These services for the DAPA-eligible community are vital as immigrants seek high quality legal support, resolve their taxes, collect documents that demonstrate continuous residence in the US, prove their maternity or paternity and learn English.
- The DAPA-eligible community needs reliable, straight-forward information that eases fear and confusion. We encourage United Methodists to use Administrative Relief as a resource to share with congregations and especially with the immigrant community.
- We expect the work of JFON and other immigration legal clinics to be overwhelming. Therefore, we strongly encourage churches to donate to either the offices of National JFON or one of their state-based sites at National Justice for Our Neighbors. Funding will enable JFON’s to hire more attorneys, host large-scale DAPA workshops, and continue hosting public education events about this form of relief.
7. Lastly, we will continue to advocate for a permanent, legislative solution for our immigrant sisters and brothers. To do this we want to show our elected leaders that United Methodist congregations are actively serving immigrant communities. Therefore, we urge you to share how your church is engaging in one of these ways above by emailing Bill Mefford, Director of Civil and Human Rights, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your ministry with and to the immigrants in your communities!
God bless you!
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa Annual Conference of the UMC
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, California-Pacific Annual Conference of the UMC