Birthright, Citizenship, and Politics

Unsatisfied with denying the dreams of undocumented children, anti-immigrant legislators want to take away the right of infants, born in this country, of being full American citizens. They have set their targets on the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to any child born in this country regardless of the status of their parents.

Refugee Employment

The ultimate goal of the resettlement process is self-sufficiency, and employment is the cornerstone of that process. It is because of this that in 1997 LIRS created RefugeeWorks, which quickly became the national center for refugee employment. RefugeeWorks specializes in providing exceptional training, consulting and publishing services to the national refugee employment network.

A Small Step for Courts, a Huge Leap for Migrants

With a new Congress setting the immigration agenda to focus exclusively on enforcing our broken immigration system, the struggle will shift to ensuring that the federal and state enforcement practices are humane, just, and compassionate. LIRS’ Access to Justice (ATJ) unit works tirelessly to reverse what they call the “dire lack of ‘due process’ in immigration removal proceedings” and pressure the government to avoid detention except in limited cases when the government proves a need to detain. And so it was good news to hear that there has been a favorable U.S. district court ruling that guarantees the right to counsel to a subset of the immigrant population in detention: those with severe mental disabilities. The decision is a small legal step for courts but a huge leap for migrants.

The Rev. Mark Junkans on Hope and Dreams

“I have intimate knowledge of the need in our communities to pass the Dream Act,” said Rev. Mark Junkans, Executive Director of LINC Houston, a faith-based non-profit organization providing social services and pastoral training in Houston. “I urge Senators Hutchison and Cornyn to ensure that our policies aren’t preventing people of goodwill and talent from contributing to our country.”

LIRS and Lutheran Leaders Call for Passage of the DREAM Act

The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in every legislative session since 2001. The bill would allow undocumented students who were brought to the United States as children, who are long-term U.S. residents, and have good moral character to become lawful permanent residents provided that for two years they attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Bishop Riley on Advocacy

Bishop E. Roy Riley, of the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA, is the LIRS Board Chair and Executive Committee Chair. In a conversation during the summit he acknowledged the necessity for Lutheran leaders to gather in the nation’s capital on an annual basis and to be “relentless” in their efforts to work with political leaders to enact change.

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