Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, serves as coordinator of justice, peace and integrity of creation for the Viatorian Community. In that role, he is a member of Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, serving on its board of directors. Here are some of their resources the organization suggests as action items.
Congressional leaders reached a tentative deal Tuesday night on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would end the threat of a year-end government shutdown and fund federal agencies through most of 2016. The Senate will vote on Thursday or Friday, just in time for Congress to adjourn for the holidays. Republicans wrangled with Democrats over proposed policy riders on issues ranging from the environment to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Lawmakers compromised on the issue of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. The spending package doesn’t include a controversial House-passed bill that would bar the refugees from entering until the U.S. implements a tough new vetting system to ensure they aren’t terrorists. Instead, it includes a bipartisan bill that would impose new travel restrictions on citizens of the 38 countries that can enter the U.S. without visas. Residents of those countries would be blocked if they have traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran, or Sudan in the past five years. (Adapted from USA Today)
Action One: Prayer
God of mercy and compassion, as we prepare ourselves with Posadas to celebrate the birth of your son Jesus in our humanity, help us open up our hearts when you are present and real in our immigrant brothers and sisters. That we don’t shut the doors on those who walk alone when their families have been deported. That we don’t shut the doors on those who have surrendered to cross borders and ask us for economic aid or legal procedures. That we don’t shut the doors on those who bother asking us to talk with legislators to change immigration laws. Give us your light and help so that we joyfully welcome our migrant brothers and sisters, not only at Christmas but every time you knock the door of our lives asking for posada as a foretaste of eternal joy when the doors of your kingdom open for us too. Amen.
(Adapted from OIA-Office for Immigrant Affairs Posada Prayer 2015)
Action Two: Calls/Letters
Tell House & Senate Leaders to Help Syrian & Iraqi Refugees: http://capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/issues/alert/?alertid=68961626&queueid=[capwiz:queue_id]
Contact Senators to Support Refugees: https://www.hrw.org/support-us/advocacy/contact-your-senators-support-refugees#/
Tell Obama: Take a Stand against Islamophobia: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/denounce_islamophobia?t=1&akid=16248.1183368.OWF-nW
Tell Your Senate – We Welcome Refugees: https://secure3.convio.net/sdc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=931&s_src=taffb
Call your Representatives & Senators and tell them you OPPOSE H.R. 4038: https://secure3.convio.net/cvt/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=9EC03C584A003625DECD00EA1CF099EF.app313b?alertId=257&pg=makeACall
National Council of Churches Petition to Welcome Refugees: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/1845/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18771
Sign Petition to Support Detainee Hunger Strike & Tell ICE to Release them from Detention: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/2015/11/26/freedomgiving/
Governors: Stop Your Collective Punishment of Refugees: http://act.mpowerchange.org/sign/no-collective-punishment/source=uwd?can_id=afd72c5c3c02e1a8b1916e80ea21df27&email_referrer=no-syrian-refugees-allowed
Sign Petition to Urge Elected Officials to Welcome Syrian Refugees: http://www.capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=68608626&type=CO
Do Not License Immigrant Family Detention Camps as Child Care Facilities: https://grassrootsleadership.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=22&reset=1
Tell Congress: Ban Private For-Profit Prisons: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/private_prisons?t=2&akid=15710.8488121.qGEx5w
Call Gov. Rauner (217-782-0244) and tell him not to make cuts for vulnerable groups in FY2016. Please do not balance the budget on the back of the poor & vulnerable. People need these services & programs.Action Three:
Advocates Urge TX Not to Grant Child Care Licensing to Detention Centers: http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Immigrant-advocates-fight-effort-to-license-6686581.php
Cardinal McCarrick Op-Ed – Syrian Refugees – Test of our Values: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/262519-syrian-refugees-are-a-test-of-our-nations-values
New Shelters for Border-Crossing Kids: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/us/us-to-open-shelters-for-new-surge-of-youths-crossing-southwest-border.html
Supreme Court Hands Obama Small but Important Win: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/supreme-court-obama-immigration_5655e236e4b072e9d1c15ea5
Action Four: Events/Resources
Catholic Social Ministry Gathering: Called to Live Mercy in Our Common Home – Jan.23-26, 2016
More information/registration: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/138516/321289/
Short Films Highlighting Detainees’ Experiences Firsthand: http://www.communitybondsfilms.com/
USCCB/MRS Response Toolkit on Syrian Refugee Crisis: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=1e4b787c-d419-47aa-922a-b60cc6084781&c=e318aa20-7917-11e3-9195-d4ae52754950&ch=e4621a10-7917-11e3-91b7-d4ae52754950
Action Five: Social Media
Twitter: Access your member of Congress’ twitter handle at http://stuffthought.com/blog/113th-congress-twitter-handles/
Sample Tweet: .@REPRESENTATIVE, Our community is ready to welcome #Syrian #refugees.
Thank you for your efforts!