Nov. 13, 2013 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Receives Langeloth Foundation Grant to Strengthen Community-based Alternatives to Immigration Detention

Published On: Donate

For Immediate Release   

Press Contact: Jon Pattee
(202) 591-5778,

WASHINGTON, D.C. Nov. 13, 2013 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant from the Langeloth Foundation that will help to pave the way for strengthened community-based  alternatives to detention in the United States.

“We’re grateful to the Langeloth Foundation for this grant of $50,000, and we welcome the Foundation’s recognition of the far-reaching impact this project can have on families in our communities,” LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke said. “By demonstrating, evaluating, and promoting a community-based model of alternatives to detention, LIRS can fundamentally change the immigration detention system with the help of partners like the Langeloth Foundation, our local service partners, and national advocacy allies.”

“This early, critical support from the Langeloth Foundation will help position this LIRS project for future success,” Hartke said. “The Langeloth Foundation’s generous $50,000 grant means that in the long term, LIRS will be able to use data from our project evaluation to support advocacy efforts for the broader implementation of our model as a replacement for immigration detention.”

“The Langeloth Foundation is proud to support this LIRS project to improve the health and well-being of immigrants impacted by detention and provide evidence for the effectiveness of community-based alternatives,” said Scott Moyer, President of the Langeloth Foundation.

“This project is directly aligned with the Langeloth Foundation’s core mission of promoting and supporting effective and creative programs, practices and policies related to healing from illness, accident, physical, social or emotional trauma, and extending the availability of programs that promote healing to underserved populations,” Moyer said.

Immigration detention imposes complicated human costs through the lack of access to basic health care and the re-traumatization of particularly vulnerable people. Immigrants in detention lack quality, effective health care. To advance a safe and supportive alternative to detention, LIRS will demonstrate, evaluate, and promote community-based interventions to address the negative public health impacts of detention through community support.

The Langeloth Foundation grant will support six months of intensive planning in 2013-2014  to shape a measurable, sustainable, and effective project to be implemented through an aligned partner network. In this planning phase, LIRS will focus on 1) defining an evaluation framework, 2) strengthening network identity and capacity, and 3) developing internal infrastructure for the project.

The project is headquartered at LIRS in Baltimore, and encompasses input from partners in the seven hub communities of the LIRS Community Support Initiative. The initiative, a collaboration with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), provides community support services including legal representation, housing, and case management with partners in Austin/San Antonio, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Elizabeth, NJ/New York, NY; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Seattle/Tacoma, WA; and Tucson/Phoenix, AZ.

“The Langeloth Foundation’s grant for this project on community-based models of alternatives to detention takes us one step closer to our vision of an America where detention is not assumption, but a last resort, and where communities protect, embrace, and empower migrants and refugees,” said Liz Sweet, Director for Access to Justice, LIRS’s unit that promotes access to the justice system, immigration benefits, and legal protection to immigrants and refugees.

“The realization of LIRS’s commitment to evaluation is made possible in part by the Langeloth Foundation—we are extending the impact of the service we provide by gathering a body of evidence that will have an impact beyond the individual,” Sweet said.

“LIRS is excited to undertake this project with Langeloth Foundation support as we gear up for our 75th anniversary in 2014, a year in which we’ll mark many decades of welcoming refugees and migrants on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” Sweet added.

The Langeloth Foundation’s grant-making program is centered on the concepts of health and well-being. The Foundation’s purpose is to promote and support effective and creative programs, practices and policies related to healing from illness, accident, physical, social or emotional trauma, and to extend the availability of programs that promote healing to underserved populations.  Learn more at

LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership with and for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration, and other vulnerable populations. LIRS serves migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners nationwide. Learn more at

LIRS has received a number of awards, including the National Leadership Award of the Vietnamese American National Gala and the Checago Bright Foundation, Inc. Outstanding Achievement Award in Community Service. LIRS’s 2012 accomplishments included welcoming 9,933 refugees, providing foster homes for 277 refugee and immigrant children, working towards the release and legal protection of 318 survivors of torture in detention, and reuniting 324 migrant children with family in the United States.

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