Conference News

They’re All Our Children

LIRS_Stand_for_WelcomeThe Border-Children-Refugee Crisis: Can You Help?

With funding from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the Minnesota Community Support Initiative (CSI) works to provide a variety of legal and social services to immigrants in detention and removal (deportation) proceedings. Its Minnesota partners in this effort include Conversations With Friends – ending isolation by visiting and supporting detained immigrants (CWF), whose lead is UCC pastor, Rev. John Guttermann.

Now LIRS with its partners, including CWF, is asking interested congregations and communities to consider helping, beginning by assessing the local capacity to assist. In its letter to its partner organizations, LIRS President, Linda Hartke, says, “LIRS is reaching out to get an initial sense of the potential capacity in our networks and in the broader community of… social ministry organizations. Our ability to persuade the government to pursue alternatives to detention, treat families humanely, and provide funding for needed services will be enhanced if we can make a credible case for the capacity we can offer. At this point, we want to explore with you two different models of service that would be targeted to the different circumstances of detained Central American migrants.”

For help assessing the capacity of your congregation and community to help, please click here.

Here is a list of all of Minnesota’s LIRS-Presbyterian funded Community Support Initiative partners:

  • Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (Legal Assistance)
  • The Advocates for Human Rights (Legal Assistance)
  • Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services, University of St. Thomas
  • Guadalupe Alternative Programs (Counseling)
  • Sarah’s Oasis (Housing)
  • Simpson Housing (Housing)
  • Conversations with Friends – ending isolation by visiting and supporting detained immigrants

For more information, contact Rev. John Guttermann, 651-485-3104,


immigration reform advocacyA Faithful Response to Unaccompanied Children – Resources from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) is one of the national interfaith organizations leading on an interfaith response to the child refugee crisis at our southern border. IIC is supported by the UCC.

  1. Webinar PowerPoint Presentation Download
  2. Webinar Audio Download (Also available by phone playback: call-in 1-805-399-1099, code 104402#)
  3. Demand that Congress reject rollbacks to child protection law – Phone and Twitter Advocacy Page
  4. Groundswell Petition
  5. Myths and Facts (contains many stats on indicators of violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala)

If you have problems with any of the links or have questions about the information in this article, please contact Rev. John Guttermann, 651-485-3104, For a presentation from your MN Conference Immigration Team, contact team chair, Susie George,


Urgent: Call the Senate and House Today!

Demand that Congress REJECT Rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Proposals to “deport children more quickly” would return unaccompanied children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations. To read more and find out how you can help, click here.

URGENT: Call the Senate & House Today!

Demand that Congress REJECT rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Proposals to “deport children more quickly” would return unaccompanied children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations.

As the U.S. government responds to the humanitarian crisis faced by unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, both President Obama and some members of Congress are proposing changes to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. The TVPRA passed both chambers of Congress by unanimous consent and was signed into law by President G. W. Bush to address our international obligations of not returning bulnerable migrants to danger and to reduce the likelihood that the U.S. would deport children back into the hands of traffickers and others who would exploit them.

Changes to the TVPRA would mean that children would not have a meaningful opportunity to have their story heard, apply for asylum, or be cared for humanely by child welfare personnel, and would be deported to potentially life-threatening situations. Congress should not rescind this bipartisan law at precisely the time when more children are in need of these protections. The U.S. must show leadership by finding ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries, rather than immoral proposals to deport them more quickly. More than 4,000 people of faith have already urged Congress and the Obama Administration to uphold these protections in a letter delivered to Congress and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. For more information, click here.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with the offices of your Representatives and Senators. You can also visit to call directly.

Here’s a sample script: “I’m from state/congregation/community and as a person of faith, I strongly oppose any rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe situations, but must be protected and cared for humanely. As your constituent, I expect you to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child’s safety for expediency. The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.” 

…from your Minnesota Conference Immigration Team

Postponed: Developing Vision

Unfortunately, due to low registration the Developing Vision workshop scheduled for Thursday, June 26 with Rev. Carol Howard Merritt is being rescheduled for some time in the next program year. Details will be announced when they are available.