Asylum at the Southern Border | LIRS
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The United States is at a critical moment. Never before has there been a greater need to help people seeking safety. Unspeakable violence and persecution are forcing families from around the world to flee their homes. Yet partisan politicking, fear-mongering, and misrepresentation in the media has painted a picture of our Southern border that reduces the real suffering of those seeking safety to inflammatory headlines and hateful rhetoric. 

At LIRS, we believe America must welcome people in need of protection not only because it’s their right to seek asylum, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Seeking asylum and protection is a right under international law for people of all nationalities, skin tones, religions and political affiliations.

We invite you to learn more about asylum and immigration policy at our southern border and encourage you to take action to support those seeking protection.

ACT

Learn more about the situation at the border and dispel harmful myths and rhetoric.

Title 42 is illegal and illegitimate.
LIRS unequivocally condemns Title 42, an illegal and specious order that denies immigrants due process and has been used more than 2.4 million times to block asylum seekers and expel migrants. This is a clear violation of U.S. and international law, which outlines the legal right to seek asylum. Although  Title 42 currently remains in place due to ongoing legislation, the  administration is not required to expand it, as was done with a recent change in border policy. 

Seeking asylum is a human—and legal—right.
That right is a cornerstone of U.S. and international law. Blocking the right to asylum is a breach of domestic and international laws recognizing asylum as a legal and human right and tarnishes our nation’s history of welcome. Our country has a moral duty to provide a safe haven for those fleeing systematic oppression and tyranny and those seeking safety and freedom. To send thousands of people back to dangerous circumstances—from violence and persecution to humanitarian emergencies —is unconscionable.

 Xenophobic and hyperbolic representations in the media dehumanize the very real need for safety and protection of individuals and families at the Southern border.
The United States must dismantle false notions of scarcity and embrace our identity of a nation of immigrants with room for all. Our government must ensure there is a fair, humane, and orderly process to allow people to seek protection. It is our moral duty. A humanitarian response that dignifies human life and acknowledges people’s suffering should drive our border policy — not one that turns away people fleeing persecution.

The United States needs comprehensive immigration reform.
Short-term, Band-Aid solutions don’t work; we must pursue holistic solutions that honor the dignity of all asylum seekers, regardless of their country of origin. In the immediate term, we need to see a significant increase in processing capacity, including hiring more asylum officers and judges; making sure that we have ample processing facilities that are safe, adequately staffed, and aren’t overcrowded; making case decisions more efficient. We also must lean on community and faith-based organizations who have decades of experience welcoming and supporting people seeking protection.

LIRS and our partners remain fully committed to helping those seeking protection.
The LIRS asylum services network provides 72-hour respite services to immigrants after crossing the southern border. Our network helps individuals and families released from immigration detention by providing short-term shelter, hot meals and showers, phone access to communicate with relatives, Know Your Rights orientation, transportation and travel coordination, supplies for the journey, and referrals to community service providers in their final destination. LIRS Welcome Center programming also connects families to community and social services, legal assistance, education, and healthcare in order to empower families to achieve greater stability and well-being in their new communities.

DONATE

Support Welcome Centers for asylum-seekers.

At LIRS, we believe everyone—regardless of status—should be welcomed with dignity and open arms. LIRS Welcome Centers provide protection-centered and trauma-informed case management services to asylum seekers and those arriving through humanitarian parole. 

Services include:

  • Mental health screening and referral to mental health and psychosocial support through internal services where available, as well as external referrals.
  • Connection to community health providers to address any health issues.
  • Legal services, including know-your rights support, guidance to secure legal counsel, and support in obtaining assistance with applications where needed.
  • Connection to community-based resources for which they are eligible, such as food banks, volunteer services, and faith communities.
  • Education services, including school enrollment for school-age children, and access to youth and adult education programming, including English classes.
  • Emergency food, housing, and financial assistance.

ADVOCATE

Urge the Biden administration to protect and support those seeking safety.
Now is the time for a truly just, fair, and humane asylum system that welcomes and supports ALL people seeking protection. Our country has the capacity and compassion to restore our asylum system for all seeking safety, to strengthen and expand legal pathways for those who are fleeing persecution, torture, or war, and to keep our promise to keep people safe and families together.
 
Join us in calling on the administration to:
  • Restore access to asylum for all who seek safety and are in need of protection, as consistent with U.S. law and international agreements.
  • Develop a safe, humane, and orderly process that honors the dignity of the protection-seeking migrant and their legal right to ask for asylum at the southern border without the use of immigration detention.
  • Drastically increase processing capacity and process asylum seekers at facilities that are safe, appropriately staffed, and avoid overcrowding. 
  • Coordinate with faith-based and community partners at the border and the interior who are eager to welcome and support asylum seekers.
  • Ensure resources and facilities at the border acknowledge and respect the dignity and diversity of people seeking safety and are equipped to provide culturally proficient information and services in multiple languages.
  • Significantly increase access to legal services and capacity in the immigration system including asylum officers and judges.
  • End the use of private prisons to detain people awaiting their asylum hearing and, instead, implement community-based models that are less expensive, safer, and more humane.
  • Ensure that asylum seekers have timely access to work permits so that they may sustain themselves while their case is being processed.

Pray

Pray for those seeking safety and fleeing war and persecution.


A Prayer of Christian Faith

God of Life,
We come to you knowing that every human being is formed beautiful in your image. You call us to uphold the dignity of the people that you have created regardless of their circumstance in life or where they were born.
We affirm that all human beings, including our neighbors on the southern border, are each a gift to the world. We come to you today hearing the call to serve and show mercy.

Lord, it may seem easier to turn away from struggle of the families and the children on the Southern Border. However, we know as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to turn towards our suffering siblings with outstretched hands to ease their pain.
God, we ask that those that seek to bring hope might offer hearts, minds, and hands to bring about your welcome and justice.

Amen.

 

An Interfaith Prayer

In the spirit of compassion, let us pray.

Spirit of love, you are the source of all welcome and life. In truth and peace, we thank you for providing resilience to those who are suffering, presence for those experiencing loneliness, and comfort to those gripped by the fear that comes from fleeing into the unknown.

We recognize that we are one human family, and as we see our siblings struggle, we must stretch our hands out in service and solidarity to those who are most vulnerable, especially children, on the southern border.
You, who are closer to us than our own breathing, stir in us a new abiding transformation of heart that we might be bearers of mercy, healing, and the love of a family and community for all people.
Strengthen our resolve to stand together and witness with those who seek safety, family, and hope.

Teach

Share helpful resources with those who seek to learn more about asylum and those who misunderstand the situation at the border.
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