Nationwide: More and more immigrants and refugees are entering the U.S. Many being allowed to enter who were waiting on the Mexico side under the “Remain in Mexico” (MPP) mandate. In the last four weeks, border organizations have seen a large increase in family units crossing and being processed.
Reunification of families: is still under work, with slow results meeting frustrating previous practices.
Border organizations: are seeing greatly increased numbers of individuals released into the U.S. Most in Texas are trying to recover from the devastating cold and being without food, water, heat, and utilities. They are working non-stop to catch up from lack of needed electricity to operate much needed computers for processing, communicating, finding shelters and facilities, family and friends to receive immigrants and refugees.
Check out the administration’s ambitious bill: US Citizenship Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sanchez.
Our regional status: Our refugee family from the Congo was determined as ineligible for any state or federal benefits. Catholic Charities has dropped them from any programs available as of Jan. 1st. The family has no food benefits or cash assistance benefits for items such as electricity, phone, and non-food items (toiletries, cleaners, household items, clothes, diapers, and infant formula.) Thankfully, several churches have given sponsorship of apartment rent and we are asking for more support in groceries and utilities.
In December two of our pastors Colton Lott, and Daniel U’Ren, in the midst of a snowstorm, helped a young couple with a newborn receive temporary housing and meals in OKC while having to appear at an ICE check-in. An amazing member of First Norman, Neil Johnson, agreed to drive during the snowstorm to pick up the young family in Ft. Worth- saving them from a long bus ride and a late night with an infant and agreeing to get them to their appointment! No one was informed the ICE office was closed due to Covid-19 and the couple had to reschedule. While in OKC, their sponsor in Louisville KY declined to receive them. They are temporarily residing in OKC and awaiting their next check-in.
There are many families awaiting sponsorship on the border to be released. If you believe your church family could receive one, please contact Rev. Mary Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit our RIM Resources page here. It is a great responsibility and a great affirmation of the one family of God.
Thank you, my Disciple friends for your love and support.
Rev. Mary Heath, Chair
Commission on Refugee & Immigration Ministries