This new year marked a time of hope and anxiety for those of us dedicated to the immigrant rights struggle – both for people and families whose lives are deeply impacted by U.S. immigration policy, and for those of us committed as allies. In February we learned that President Obama’s executive order on immigration, which would allow up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay with their families in the U.S., was threatened by a court ruling of a Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas, and was temporarily stopped.
After many years working with No More Deaths - a humanitarian aid and social justice organization on the U.S./Mexico border, and a ministry of the UU Church of Tucson, Arizona – I always ask what these developments will mean for the death and suffering occurring at our border. While working with people being deported to Mexico, I have heard the stories of many parents aching, and risking everything, to return to their children in the U.S. I have also met hundreds of Central Americans fleeing both gang and government violence. No matter what relief comes for parents and young people currently in the U.S. without papers, the devastating and deadly effects at the border will continue as long as the border is treated as a “security” issue rather than a human rights issue.
During this pivotal year in immigration policy, it is more important than ever that we educate ourselves as part of strengthening our activism, both as individuals and congregations.
That’s why I want to invite you to join the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice’s “Border Justice” Program from May 21-26th, 2015. The registration deadline is March 22, so sign up today.
On this delegation, we’ll meet with humanitarian organizations in Sonora, Mexico, hear from migrants about their experiences, and walk the desert paths so many people risk their lives to cross. We’ll meet with those directly affected by U.S. immigration policies in Arizona and learn how they are organizing to protect their communities. And we will strengthen both our resolve and our skill-set to organize for change in our home communities.
Hearing from so many people who have experienced deportation, one thing that strikes me is that “the border crisis” does not only exist on the border – it exists in all of our states and cities, anywhere that families wait for news of a missing loved one, where kids attend our schools that have lost a parent trying to return home to them.
The UU College of Social Justice can also work with you to design a journey for your own congregation. For a full calendar of upcoming trips, including other destinations like Haiti and the Lummi Nation in Northwest Washington state, click here. Logistical information, including generous scholarship assistance, is available on our website.
In Faith and Solidarity,
Senior Associate for Service Learning Programs
Photograph of Hannah at a rally for Justice for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year-old boy shot and killed by Border Patrol through the border fence in Nogales