December 2018 - January 2019
The people in the migrant Caravan from Central America are seeking safety and security for their families. They can’t find it in their home countries, so they are coming to the United States to seek asylum. This is their right. Yet our government has sent military troops instead of humanitarian aid to our border. Our government has tried to enact policies of exclusion instead in place of political asylum.
It’s up to us–people of faith and conscience–to join together with thousands of others to respond with the kind of hospitality and compassion that our faith calls us to. Presbyterians from all over the country are invited to join in efforts to do just this. These efforts seek to provide safety and witness for the migrants, encouraging the U.S. to obey its own laws by providing them access to petition for their asylum case.
There are and will be several ways that you can do this. The situation on the border is always changing, and we at the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship are still solidifying our plans so please check back on this page, which will be updated frequently.
We’re also encouraging all Presbyterians to use #PCUSAWallofWelcome to share stories about your experiences at the border, advocacy, and reflections on support of and solidarity with the Caravan.
Sanctuary Caravan – San Ysidro, California – Dates TBD
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is partnering with the New Sanctuary Coalition, a faith-based immigrant rights group led by immigrants. They are setting up support on both sides of the San Isidro border crossing in Southern California; this support effort is called “Sanctuary Caravan.” PPF will be organizing a group to the border as part of the Sanctuary Caravan, likely in mid-December with the possibility of other opportunities in January and/or February. The Sanctuary Caravan organizers are asking that people commit to being present for at least 5 days. You can find out more about the Sanctuary Caravan in San Diego and Tijuana and sign up for updates here (we’ll keep updating this page, but we also encourage you to sign up for their updates).
You can also view training videos on accompaniment, volunteering in the pro se legal clinic, witnessing, and histories of migration. In-person trainings are planned for anyone who goes to San Diego as well.
Love Knows No Borders Faith Leaders Action – San Diego, CA – December 9-10
On Dec. 10, the American Friends Service Committee organized hundreds of faith leaders from across the country to take part in an action at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California. 32 were arrested. You can read about the action and see photos here and join in the week of action December 10-18 from wherever you are!
Austin Presbyterian Seminary Delegation – McAllen, TX – December 14-16
Students and friends of APTS are going to McAllen, TX, Friday, December 14 – Sunday, December 16. The group is capped at 40 people, but there are still spaces available. They will be staying at First Presbyterian Church, McAllen. This is a low-cost delegation, and the hope is for participants to pay no more than $50. However, the cost should not be prohibitive to anyone who wants to join. They will not be crossing the border on this delegation, but please bring any and all documentation you may need (driver’s license, passport, visa, etc.) just in case.
The PCUSA Office of Immigration Issues staff will also attend this gathering at the border.
Call Your Representatives – From anywhere! – Now!
Call your representatives in Congress and urge them to do everything they can to stop the violence at our border. You might say something like this:
“Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m calling because I’m very concerned about what is happening at the southern border and I urge you to do everything you can to ensure that our government refrain from using excessive force against unarmed asylum-seekers. Instead of separating families at the border, I hope that you will vote for Congress to de-fund further militarization of the border and instead demand more accountability for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Thank you.”
Other Presbyterian Solidarity Efforts
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance can help organize groups of 3 or more to assist in efforts at the Texas border in McAllen and El Paso, TX. Contact them at (866) 732-6121 for more information. You can read more about PDA support of asylum-seekers on their blog.
The Presbytery of the Pacific and Matthew 25 of Southern California are participating in an annual La Posada Sin Fronteras on December 15, 2018 at Friendship Park between San Diego and Tijuana. They also went on a delegation to the border in November that you can read about here.
Still trying to learn more? Check out these resources:
- “Migrant Caravan: Answers to your most pressing questions” from the Latin America Working Group
- “Genesis of Exodus,” a short documentary by the PCUSA Office of the General Assembly about the root causes of migration.