PRESS RELEASE – LIRS Provides Support to Hundreds of Newly Reunited Families
For Immediate Release:
July 23, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Over the last several months, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) network has been at the heart of the family separation crisis; and now, as the government scrambles to comply with the court-ordered family reunification, we remain on the frontlines. LIRS is working with our network of social service partners, along with multiple non-profits and private sector organizations, offering vital services to these newly reunited families, and ensuring they have a community of support once they have been released.
LIRS is helping to meet the immediate needs of these children and families through on-the-ground operations in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW) in Phoenix and Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) in Albuquerque. The reputations of LSS-SW and LFSRM in resettling refugees, and their expertise working with children and families who have experienced trauma, made them uniquely qualified to step up and offer assistance.
“Our goal is to stabilize the lives of these children and families during this time of crisis. Many of the families we are working with are fleeing their homes to seek asylum because their lives are at risk. It is our identity as human beings, and as people of many faith traditions, to love and serve our neighbor,” said Connie Phillips, President/CEO of LSS-SW.
Once reunified, our teams ensure that these families have access to temporary housing, basic supplies, legal and healthcare referrals, and transportation to the communities they were trying to reach when they came to the United States.
Supporting these efforts is FWD.us, which provided staffing and funding for travel operations, booking hotels and transportation for those families who need a place to stay and a means of travel.
“FWD.us is proud to be on the ground volunteering with the loving people at LIRS, LSS-SW, and LFSRM, who are ensuring that, upon reunification, families are treated with the dignity and care they deserve,” said Alida Garcia, Director of Coalitions & Policy at FWD.us. “We are grateful for the generosity of all donors, big and small, to the Flights for Families Fund of the Families Belong Together Campaign. Together we can build the welcoming nation we aspire to be.”
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) donated 50 cell phones for families, so they have a way to connect with services and their loved ones.
“In this chaotic environment, I am tremendously proud of the work that is being done and the integrity with which it is being carried out,” said Kay Bellor, Vice President for Programs at LIRS. “It has been extremely heartening to see the outpouring of support from our partners, the American public, communities of faith, and from organizations like FWD.us, NDWA, and others who make this work possible.”
As the LIRS network continues to find ways to support reunified families long-term, private donations make all the difference. You can support our work by visiting www.lirs.org/families.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.