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Press Release // Empowering Refugees

LIRS Expands Programming to Address Needs of Migrants amidst Humanitarian Crisis

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LIRS Staff

May 20, 2019

Media Contact: Becca Heller | | 410-230-2746; 443-768-1885

BALTIMORE, MD – In light of our renewed emphasis on serving asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is excited to announce the expansion of our Migrant Services work. This year, Migrant Services is expanding its Detention Visitation program in 2019 and launching a new program that will offer case management to vulnerable asylum-seeking families.

“Given the growing humanitarian crisis at our border, these community-based programs will provide crucial support to asylum seekers, children, and families seeking to rebuild their lives in America after much trauma and hardship,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of LIRS.

Through the Detention Visitation program, LIRS equips partners with resources needed to visit migrants in immigration detention, write letters to detainees, and provide them with community support immediately after release. Over the last six months, LIRS partners engaged more than 750 volunteers who visited over 2,900 detainees. The accompaniment that LIRS provides to detainees helps break the uncertainty and isolation of detention by offering hope and human connection to those imprisoned.

Meanwhile, LIRS’s new case management program for asylum seekers will provide short-term case management support to families released from detention. LIRS will work with 5 social service organizations, which were strategically chosen based on the high numbers of asylum-seekers living in their surrounding communities. Participants in the program will receive comprehensive case management, which will include connecting them with immigration legal services, school enrollment assistance, interpretation, ICE check-in appointment support, transportation, and many other services. Through this program, LIRS’ work will add to the evidence base showing the effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention.

“It is my hope that these programs, and all of the work we do at LIRS, send a clear message that America is more than the institutions and policies that currently govern immigration practices,” said Vignarajah. “There are people who stand ready to offer a compassionate welcome to those seeking refuge, in communities all across the nation.”

Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is one of the largest immigration and refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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