I’m glad that LIRS is fortunate enough to have strong and passionate allies who work hard to support migrants.
Last week, our Access to Justice unit convened members of the Community Support Network in North Carolina for three days of planning, connecting, and even some barbecue.
The Community Support Network builds local capacity to deliver quality services for individuals negatively impacted by immigration detention and advocates for community-based alternatives to the current enforcement system in the United States. It is a network of 20 service providers in seven communities. Local partners provide legal, case management, and housing services for individuals in and upon release from immigration detention, as well as track individual outcomes to measure effectiveness of service interventions.
Network members came together from all corners of the nation: from Boston to Tacoma, from Tucson to Minneapolis. We spent three days talking about the network’s powerful core, growing array of allies, and ability to change the national conversation. Time was also devoted to exploring the network’s local needs and creating solutions with the creativity and experience of our peers. Particular exchanges focused on the need for better housing and mental health solutions.
As network members from different regions and different professional backgrounds engaged one another, it was striking to see the rich web of relationships and the potential to make strategic improvements in specific areas. We discussed, for example, how breaking through the red tape of getting client documentation would free up more space for us to work on improving our volunteer base, which in turn could create a greater capacity for mental health services and host families – keeping service providers less burned out in the process.
Overall, participants contemplated a collective sense of identity and how we can have a greater impact as a network. We listened to each other’s local experiences, worked to find creative solutions, and identified emerging patterns in our thinking. We heard ideas and stories of how new connections on the local, regional, and national level could help us serve more of the people coming out of immigration detention. The relationships among the network members continue to foster creativity, and everyone inspires each another in the struggle to serve our clients and build a welcoming community for new migrants.
Thank you for your enthusiasm as we head into an important month to Stand for Welcome! We look forward to continuing to equip you with educational and grassroots resources to bring about compassionate immigration reform for millions of Americans seeking a better life.