Migrant Crisis Care
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35
HTP’s Episcopal Migrant Crisis Care Committee (EMCC) is a ministry that arose organically out of congregational concern over the plight of our brothers and sisters at the border. Increasing awareness of the plight of migrant children and their families led to an active discernment process among a group of concerned parishioners. This ministry seeks to provide support locally to migrants and their families as well as advancing advocacy and education on immigration issues. The committee is also in relationship with the Diocese on these issues through liaison with the Refugee Advocacy Forum. While continuing to seek ways to support our brothers and sisters, the committee is sponsoring the following initiatives:
- Deportation Bag Collection
- Court Watch
- Asylum Law Lab
Watch here for more information about Court Watch and Asylum Law Lab. Please contact David Triemer if you would like more information.
Ways to help during COVID-19
Since the beginning of COVID-19 several organizations have been collaborating with a team of volunteers and other organizations to provide post-release accompaniment to immigrants and asylum seekers released from Stewart Detention Center. The offerings are as follows:
- Airport accompaniment - a small team of volunteers are dispatched to the airport to greet immigrants released from Stewart. There they help assess their momentary needs. That often includes making reservations, printing boarding passes, getting a gate pass, accompanying the individuals to their gate, and purchasing a meal for the travelers.
- Radical hospitality - Since late July the Atlanta Friends Meeting (here in Decatur) has allowed Charlotte and me to host immigrants and asylum seekers in need of transitional housing. Most of our guests only stay one night and then catch their bus or plane to be reunited with family or friends. Sometimes it's a longer stay due to some form of an acute crisis. One example was a high school student who came here as an unaccompanied minor to only become a victim of forced labor. We've had two long-term guests, a homeless man from the Caribbean (10 days) and a Central American man who wanted to return to his home country but had to await the reopening of his country's airport. Since late-July we have welcomed to the meetinghouse 12 men from the Arabian Peninsula, the Caribbean, Central America, and East Asia.
How can folks from Holy Trinity get involved? Here are some items that can be used immediately:
- New or gently used clothing items. Specifically:
- long-sleeve shirts (S, M, L)
- pants (sizes 30-32)
- shoes (sizes 8 1/2 and 9)
- flip flops / sliders (for showering)
- laundry detergent
- Apprentices for our airport accompaniment - These individuals must be willing to go to the Atlanta airport and knowing the risks of COVID-19 decide to practice basic preventative measures (mask-wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, social distance, etc.). No experience or language skills are required. We can provide an apprenticeship. Volunteers are mostly needed early morning and late evening.
Long-term, Holy Trinity might sponsor some weeks/months of grocery items.
El Refugio provides deportation bags upon request from immigrants and asylum seekers and their families.
Deportation bags contain the following per ICE rules:
- Three pairs of pants (Jeans and other casual pants)
- Three shirts (Polo shirts are okay, but plain t-shirts are also fine.)
- Three pairs of socks
- Three pairs of underwear
- Two pairs of shoes
Everything goes into a backpack or duffel bags large enough to contain the above items. The bag must have a working zipper and may not have wheels.
Please provide quality clothing, items you would give your brother, son, partner etc. The clothes should be casual and for warm climates. They should also be appropriate for men in their 20s and 30s. They tend to need small and medium sizes the most, but they also need large. They get very few requests for XL and XXL. And, new shoes are greatly appreciated!
When you have a deportation bag ready, please contact Don Murphy.