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Update on Immigration Justice in the Southwest Conference
July 2014
I want to take a few moments and report to you about what is happening regarding Immigration Justice in, around, with, and through the Southwest Conference. I am not sure where to begin, so much is happening so fast. Select this link to read the rest of his article

Migrant Crisis: Truths and Myths
July 22, 2014
This excellent article responds to some common misconceptions about migrant children: who they are, why they came, and what's being done.
Debunking myths about migrant children at Ft. Sill

Central American Children Seeking Safe Refuge
Church World ServicesJuly 21, 2014
Below are two sets of talking points and message guides from various groups surrounding the arrival of children fleeing from violence in Central America.
Helpful & Not So Helpful Messaging [PDF]
Message Tips & Suggestions [PDF]

Children in Crisis - Your Congregation Can Help

Church World Service
July 17, 2014
More than 300 children cross the U.S. border with Mexico every day unaccompanied by adults. Many of them are fleeing violence after their parents made the wrenching decision to send them north rather than risk staying home. Your congregation can help. With your support, we're reaching out to those children who have been taken into custody by U.S. law enforcement, ensuring they get the legal representation and spiritual care they need.
Please consider how you and your congregation can join us in this effort.
Link to CWS resources
Link to UCC resources

Alert: Foster Care Families Needed
Tuesday July 29 at 7PM at the Southwest Conference Office
A local agency has been given a government grant to support child refugees. If you or anyone in your church would be interested in serving as a foster parent for a refugee, or if you want to learn about how families in your church can participate as foster parents, then please join us.
Representatives of Neighborhood Ministries will be present to answer questions about foster parenting for child refugees. Here is what we know:
  • Foster parents will receive a stipend of between $700 - $1,000 to support their effort to parent a child • Children will stay from between 30-45 days
  • Each child parented must have their own bed
  • At least one parent or guardian must have legal status
  • At least one parent or guardian must be bilingual
Even if you do not qualify, you may want to send a representative from your church so that you can answer questions for families in your church that might want to participate in this government funded initiative to care for these children who are fleeing violence in their homeland.

Noel Anderson Assumes Joint Position with UCC and Church World Service
Noel AndersonJuly 2014
Justice Witness Ministries has entered into a one-year agreement with Church World Service to work jointly in grassroots advocacy related to refugee and immigration issues. The Rev. Noel Anderson will work specifically with UCC churches, pastors, and lay leaders.
He will also serve as convener of the UCC Immigration Task Force, which is a growing group of activists from all over the country. All are welcome to join the Task Force and will be added to the list serve and participate in regular conference calls every 6-8 weeks.
Noel is available as our contact person for speaking, training, and local actions. His primary team connection in JWM is the Education for Faithful Action Team in Cleveland (led by Bentley deBardelaben); however, he will also work closely with our Washington DC Advocacy Team to draft policy decisions. Noel is housed in the CWS Office in Washington DC and his direct email is nandersen@cwsglobal.org.

UCC Congregations Address Humanitarian Crisis of Unaccompanied Migrant Children
July 8, 2014
They are coming to the United States in waves. Thousands of unaccompanied children, primarily from Central America, are crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico, looking to escape violence and poverty at home. To address this humanitarian crisis, President Obama plans to ask Congress on Tuesday for more than $2 billion in emergency funding to help the children seeking refuge, as lawmakers and federal agencies wrestle with ways to stem the flow.
Link to read the rest of this article

Arizona UCC to provide sanctuary to immigrant family facing deportation
JMarco Tulio and familyune 25, 2014
Marco Tulio is desperately trying to stay in the United States with his wife and children. But complications with Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) and other aspects of the legal system make his deportation seem more likely every day. On Wednesday, June 25, advocates from the United Church of Christ and a number of immigrant rights groups will rally together in Arizona to support the Tulio family in their time of desperation by accompanying Tulio to submit one more request for a stay of removal and offering him sanctuary at Shadow Rock UCC in Phoenix. Read the rest of this article

Migrant Ministry in the SWC
May 2012
Many of the folks from Rincon have been praying for my friend Luis over the past many weeks. Luis was brought to the U.S. by his Mother when he was not yet 3 years old (to escape an abusive husband/father). Luis turned 20 years old this past Christmas Day ... Read this story

UCC leaders applaud Arizona immigration law injunction
July 29, 2010
>> Read their statement

Interfaith Immigration Coalition
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (ICC), urges people to engage in constant prayer, public prayer events and advocacy for immigration reform.
Learn more about this organization: Interfaith Immigration Coalition

TOX: AZ Republic
>> Spanish congregation loses members in unsettling wake of immigration law

Stand for JusticeStand for Justice
The Justice and Witness Ministries of our national UCC setting has posted immigration resources and information on ucc.org.
Immigration page: Read stories of immigrants and their allies in Arizona, Virginia and North Carolina. Resources include talking points from Church World Service, travel-study Experiences through Centro Romero and much more.
Arizona: Arizona's page has information and resources for people in Arizona and others to 'Stand for Justice Act Now to Oppose the Arizona law'

M. Linda JaramilloA Culture of Fear
July 19, 2010
By M. Linda Jaramillo
Two weeks ago, UCC General Minister and President Geoffrey Black and I visited Arizona. Our purpose was to meet with and listen to church and community leaders who have been working on the various issues surrounding the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070. While 1070 is steeped in political debate about who is on the “right” side of the question, people are living in fear. Fear seems to be dominating the culture and climate of Arizona. >> Read story

Geoffrey BlackUCC National Leaders Come to SWC in Ministry of Accompaniment
July 6, 2010
By Phil Reller and Randy Mayer
In times of difficulty and struggle it is not necessarily a person’s words that are important but it is the sense of presence and solidarity that becomes essential. In Latin America they call it a "ministry of accompaniment," the simple idea of walking with people in times of struggle and need. Last week the Southwest Conference experienced the ministry of accompaniment when General Minister and President Rev. Geoffrey Black and Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries Rev. Linda Jaramillo visited the border region. >> Read story

Expressions of Solidarity and Support
The Southwest Conference has been receiving words of solidarity and support from many circles within the United Church of Christ and from organizations who have come to see that we are fully committed to act on behalf of the immigrant. Many of those responding are aware that in a very short while, the same dynamics that we are experiencing here in Arizona will soon be present in their setting.
The support of our covenant and mission partners has been heartening, and we would like to share them with all of you. As they continue to arrive, we will update our website to include the full array of supportive responses in the hopes that you will be as inspired by them as we have been.

Southwest Conference resolution, passed by delegates to the 2010 SWC Annual Meeting: A Call for a More Humane US Immigration Policy; End Migrant Deaths; Support Immigrant Communities (Resolution of Witness) 
An Open Letter to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Governor Jan Brewer

Council of Conference Ministers
sent a letter in support and concern about SB1070.
>> Read their letter

Central Pacific Conterence UCC approved an Emergency Resolution of Solidarity with Immigrants and the SWCUCC >> Read their resolution

Chicago Metropolitan Association of the Illinois Conference UCC
approved an Emergency Resolution of Solidarity with Immigrants and the SWCUCC >> Read their resolution

Rocky Mountain Conference UCC
approved an Emergency Resolution of Solidarity with Immigrants and the SWCUCC >> Read their resolution

Southern California Nevada Conference UCC approved a resolution: Expressing Solidarity and Support for our Sisters and Brothers in Arizona following passage of Arizona SB1070 and Encouraging our Members and Churches to Offer Relief and to Do Justice >> Read their resolution

Northern California Nevada Conference UCC are taking on the call to solidarity and action with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. >> Read their call to action

This isn’t just another poem.
May 2010
Brittany Wideman, long active in the Youth and Outdoor ministry programs of the Southwest Conference, wrote and read this poem for a service of worship held at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Phoenix the night before a large march to protest SB 1070. Many who were there were deeply moved by her words, and we are proud now to share them with you. >> Read Brittney's poem

Daniel ErdmanWe are ONE Albuquerque!
On June 7, 2010, Daniel Erdman, pastor at Iglesia Congregacional Unida in Albuquerque and Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexico Conference of Churches, made this statement to the Albuquerque City Council.
> >Read his statement
Protest MarchUCC members opposed to immigration law join march on Arizona Capitol
Written by Scott Griessel, June 1, 2010
Members of the United Church of Christ from Arizona and around the country joined an estimated 20,000 protesters May 29 to march in opposition to the state's SB1070 immigration law that, according to critics, targets Hispanics and could leave the door open for racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. >> Read more

Ecumenical Advocacy DaysEcumenical Advocacy Days and Immigration Reform
April 5, 2010
"
As the Southwest Conference, we should be at the forefront in educating, mobilizing and organizing our people and the broader society around the issue of immigration" writes Noel Anderson. Read his article about taking part in Ecumenical Advocacy Days and Immigration Reform in Washington DC.