Blessing Not Burden | June 30, 2016
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Dear Advocates,

Last Thursday, the same day the Supreme Court issued a ruling on immigration, over 80 community members gathered at a taqueria in Grand Rapids, Mich., to celebrate the blessings of immigrants in their community and in the United States. The gathering was positive, hopeful, and empowering as community members from a variety of sectors shared the many ways they see immigrants contributing to the city, to congregations, and to the economy. But on that particular day we were also deeply discouraged as we were reminded of the brokenness of our immigration system and why this message is so important.

Our last scheduled speaker, a strong immigration advocate and DACA recipient herself, was not able to attend. Her parents are two of the 5 million individuals who would have received temporary relief from deportation and temporary work authorization under President Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration. Her parents are undocumented and still without options. Our friend woke up that morning hoping for news of security, news that would take her family out of the shadows, but instead she found the Supreme Court reached a tie decision, preventing the program that would benefit her parents from moving forward. Her story reminded us all that policies have an impact on real people—and we can never forget that. In light of the discouraging news, this gathering motivated all of us to share the reality about immigrants—they make our cities better, our congregations more vibrant, and our economy stronger. And that’s something worth celebrating!

After last Thursday’s 4-4 split ruling by the Supreme Court on immigration, it is clearer than ever that we need long-term solutions to our broken immigration system. Immigrant families no longer can wait in limbo, fearing being deported and separated from their families. President Obama’s executive action, DAPA/DACA+, was proposed as a temporary solution. Only Congress has the power to enact immigration reform.

Take action! Text immigration to 52886 to send a message to Congress that we need long-term solutions to our immigration system and that you support immigration reform. When you receive a message back, click on the link and fill out your information to send a personalized message to your Senators and Representative. Immigrant families have waited long enough—text today!



Refugee Resettlement Funding

Refugee resettlement funding is at risk. A subcommittee of the House of Representatives is proposing in its FY 2017 funding bill provisions that would significantly cut funding for the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This comes at a time when the world is facing the worst displacement crisis in history. In response, President Obama committed to resettle 100,000 refugees in FY 2017, an increase of 25,000 from FY 2016; however, the current funding bill would not ensure we could fulfill this commitment. Historically the United States has been a leader in refugee resettlement, and we now have an opportunity to continue this legacy. It is critical that USRAP receive enough funding to uphold our commitment of resettling 100,000 refugees and to ensure that local communities have adequate resources to help refugees integrate and thrive. Stay tuned for opportunities to advocate.


Hearing from Hondurans About U.S. Immigration

Immigrants are a blessing to the U.S., but how does immigration affect local communities in sending countries? Hear the voices of Hondurans and their thoughts on immigration, brought to us by two Calvin College students. “What do you, a Honduran citizen, think about U.S. immigration? How does it affect your community? These were among the questions we took with us to a town called Mangulile in Honduras.” Read more...»

Upcoming Events

Wealthy Street Theater, Grand Rapids, Michigan
August 17, 7 p.m.
For details about the film and event, visit the Facebook event page here.

Documented highlights the story and struggle of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. In 2011, Vargas wrote a New York Times article revealing publicly that he is undocumented. While this film focuses on his experience and life, he represents the 11 million people in the United States without legal status. The film gives insight into the struggles of undocumented immigrants, puts a face on our broken immigration system, and challenges us to reconsider what "American" means.
Are you interested in hosting an Immigrants Are a Blessing, Not a Burden campaign event in your community? Email Kelsey Herbert at for more information.