Many Arlington and Alexandria churches have reached out to the Bi-District office in recent weeks regarding the issues facing immigrants in their communities. For that reason, we have put together the following list of resources and information.
Our Virginia Conference office has put together a similar page offering resources and information as well. Check that out HERE.
Local Organizations Offering Assistance and Training
Just Neighbors is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to serving and supporting the immigrant community of northern Virginia. We foster mutual understanding between immigrants and the larger community in which they live. http://www.justneighbors.org
NOVA Friends of Refugees
NOVA Friends of Refugees is a growing network of people representing over 50 churches, NGOs, local businesses, state and local government entities, and refugee communities. https://www.facebook.com/novafriendsofrefugees/
Alexandria/Arlington Churches offering Resources
Denominational (United Methodist) News Articles/Information
- Rising Hope will hold a Prayer Vigil on Saturday, March 4 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. (music to begin at 1:30 p.m.). Read Rising Hope’s press release and Jeff Mickle’s related letter to clergy HERE. Learn more about the I.C.E. action outside of Rising Hope HERE.
- Just Neighbors will be holding an information session on how churches can be help immigrants and refugees Thursday, March 16 at 7:30 PM at Vale UMC.
- NoVa Friends of Refugees is proud to present Raise Your Voice! Advocacy Workshop and Volunteer Fair. Are you looking for effective ways to help refugees? Does your church have a refugee ministry or want to start one? Then this event is for you. NOVA Friends of Refugees is an interfaith network of people working to create welcoming communities for refugees. Please join us for this free interactive workshop on Saturday, March 18, 2-4 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, where you will hone advocacy skills and explore volunteer opportunities. Learn More and RSVP.
- A United Response to Hate Speech & Crime – Sunday, March 26, 2017, 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Join other community members on Sunday, March 26th to learn how federal, state, and local officials, religious leaders and local organizations are responding to and preventing hate speech, harassment and crime in Northern Virginia. This event, “United Response to Hate Speech, Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes”, will be held from 3 pm to 5:30 pm at the Northern Virginia Community College Ernest Center. Brief presentations on laws, enforcement, and prevention by federal, state and local officials and regional experts will be followed by a discussion between religious leaders who will explore community solutions to hateful rhetoric and hate crimes. Featured speakers will include Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Mark Herring, Assistant US Attorney Steven Gordon, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Rev. Dr. Steve Hyde, Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Rev. Carlos Penaloza, Mary Ann Panarelli Fairfax County Public Schools, FBI Supervisory Agent Giulio Arseni, Fairfax County Chief of Police Ed Roessler, Anti-Defamation League Education Director Seth Gordon-Lipkin, Rabbi David Kalender, Rev. Lisa Rzepka, and Chairman Sharon Bulova of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Register Today by visiting our website (http://tinyurl.com/fairfaxcountycic), sending an email (ncsinterfaith@fairfaxcounty. gov) or by calling our office at (703) 324-3453.
Statement on Current Immigration Raids
by Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church on February 17, 2017
In the past few days, the United States has seen a surge of raids targeting immigrant communities by Department of Homeland Security officials. These raids are occurring in homes, places of work, and even near churches. We are especially troubled by the raid outside of a United Methodist Church in Virginia on February 8th where men exiting a hypothermia shelter were confronted the minute they crossed the street off of church grounds. Targeting those seeking sanctuary or services provided by houses of worship will not be tolerated.
The United Methodist Church believes that “migrants should be given due process and access to adequate legal representation. Due to these raids and the ensuing detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart and the migrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
While raids occurred over the past decades under the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations, we are especially concerned about the lack of discretion that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have shown recently as they profile communities – especially Latino people – and engage in mass arrests.
To the United States government: we call upon you to immediately cease arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.
To people of faith: We affirm that all are created in the image of God and we are called to welcome immigrants into our congregations, provide care for those facing separation from their families, and advocate for policies that uphold the civil and human rights of all migrants.
To all who live in fear of detention, deportation, or separation from your family and community: you are valuable, deserving of opportunity, your contributions to society are important, and we will stand with you to advocate for justice.
“To refuse to welcome migrants to this country – and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media – is complicity to sin.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
Editor’s Note: This statement was sent out “From the Desk of Susan Henry-Crowe” on Friday, February 17.
- A brochure, produced by the ACLU, outlining the rights of immigrant persons may be found at: https://www.aclu.org/files/kyr/MKG17-KYR- PoliceImmigrationFBI-OnePager-English-v01.pdf
- A smartphone app, condensing much of this data, can be found here: http://unitedwedream.org/thank-deportation-defense-card-handy-phone/
- A ‘toolkit’ (15 pages) is conceived for faith communities that may be considering what it means to offer sanctuary.
Do you have more resources or information to add to this list? Contact Sarah Calvert firstname.lastname@example.org.