I’m pleased to share the news that LIRS is awarding grants to empower churches and organizations formalize, improve and/or expand service to immigrants in detention.
In doing so, we’ll be collaborating with partners in seven “hub communities” across America to provide hope, strength, and a voice for these detainees, through supporting the creation and expansion of immigration detention visitation ministries. We’re excited to work with our partners in these seven hub communities, which encompass Austin/San Antonio, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Elizabeth, NJ/New York, NY; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Seattle/Tacoma, WA; and Tucson/Phoenix, AZ.
You’re probably already aware of why visitation ministries are so important. On any given day, the U.S. government incarcerates more than 34,000 immigrants in a vast network of over 250 federal, private, state, and local jails. For people in detention, the months or even years spent awaiting asylum or another solution can be extremely lonely and full of fear. The legal process is complex and emotionally draining, while the detention facilities can be dehumanizing and potentially traumatizing for people facing possible deportation. Your support and simple acts of human kindness, expressed through a visitation ministry, can make a huge difference in their lives.
If your church or organization could benefit from a small grant of up to $2,500 to formalize, improve and/or expand service to immigrants in detention, LIRS wants to partner with you to educate, support and advocate for people isolated in detention.
Churches and organizations can download the short visitation ministry application (to be returned by October 18) and contact Julia Coffin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. All applicants are welcome; however, preference will be given to ministries working in LIRS’s hub communities.
We’re incredibly grateful to Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod for enabling LIRS to support the creation and expansion of immigration detention visitation ministries.
For more information and resources on immigration detention and visitation, see the LIRS series Bring the Sky and the report Unlocking Liberty. For a closer look at aspects of immigration reform legislation dealing with immigration detention, see LIRS’s in-depth analyses.
For those of you already involved in visitation ministries, thank you, and we’d love to help you make your work even more far-reaching! And if you are thinking of becoming involved, thanks and congratulations — visitation ministries can be incredibly powerful in the lives of all involved.