Refugees & Migration
Donate to the Refugee Program
1. Click Donate Now; 2. Choose Organization: Holy Trinity Parish; 3. Choose Donation Type: Holy Trinity Refugee Fund - HTRF
The news in recent weeks has contained concerning stories of families, particularly mothers and children, being separated by U.S. officials when they present themselves at our border seeking asylum. Although a judge recently forced the government to reunite families with the youngest children, more than 2,000 children still remain separated from their parents. Families are the cornerstone of our Catholic faith, and separating them runs counter to everything our faith preaches and teaches.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has recently issued two statements on this policy: one is from Most Reverend Jose S. Vazquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration and the other is from His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB.
Holy Trinity parishioners also have been supporting efforts to reunite these families. Specifically:
- The parish gave the Capital Area Immigrants Rights (CAIR) Coalition a grant from its tithe funds of $75,000 to support litigation to clarify the rights of migrants, especially asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors, who are being detained indefinitely.
- Parishioners are writing their Members of Congress to urge the rapid reunification of parents and children.
- About 50 parishioners joined the Keep Families Together rally to show their solidarity with the separated families.
- The parish has connected interested parishioners to volunteer opportunities with CAIR, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and Catholic Charities.
- We have encouraged donations to organizations on the border such as the Kino Border Initiative, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and RAICES, who are trying to meet families immediate needs.
There is, however, always more that can be done. The following organizations still need your help to advocate for and reunite families who have been affected:
Organizations Holy Trinity Works With:
- Donate to the CAIR Coalition, a DC-based legal aid organization that represents detained men, women and families
- Volunteer with or donate to the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, which provides advocates and lawyers to children in detention
- Donate items or money to Sacred Heart Church and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, located in McAllen, Texas, which are trying to assist families
- Support RAICES, a non-profit legal aid organization in Texas working to reunify immigrant families separated at the border
- Donations of supplies or money to Kino Border Initiative
Other Worthy Organizations Needing Assistance:
- KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) has a mission to ensure that no child appears in immigration court without high-quality representation. Become a trained KIND volunteer, or get involved in one of their many social networking awareness efforts at: https://supportkind.org/get-involved Contact: Nirupa Narayan, email@example.com, 202-824-8680.
- Help immediately from your home through We The Action, a digital platform that makes it easy for lawyers to fill urgent needs through critical, impactful legal services for non-profit partners. Projects can be done remotely, with any bar license. Lawyers can sign up to access projects at wetheaction.org.
- The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, collectively known as CARA, have joined forces in response to Immigration and Customs Enforcementʼs (ICE) significant expansion of its family detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) and the Karnes Residential Center. Volunteers are needed both at The Karnes Detention Center (located roughly an hour southwest of San Antonio, TX) and the Dilley Pro Bono For more information contact: Caya Simonsen (Karnes) at firstname.lastname@example.org and Barbara Pena (Dilley) at email@example.com. http://caraprobono.org/
- The Legal Aid Justice Center is seeking volunteers in Virginia to host house parties raising money to battle family separation, and create care packages for detained kids. Contact Contessa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and support planning your party. Their offices can also be reached by phone 703-778-3450.
- Al Otro Lado is a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico and Southern California. They have an urgent need for individuals willing to provide short- and long-term housing for asylum seekers who otherwise cannot be released from detention. If you are willing to host an individual asylum seeker or family, please email Jose Mares (email@example.com) or visit https://alotrolado.org/programs/refugee- program/ for more information.
Read the Bishops' Statement "A Mercy and Peacebuilding Approach to Gun Violence" issued in March 2018.
Bishops' Statement on Ending DACA
The President and Vice President along with Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued a statement denouncing the Administration's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after six months.
The following statement from USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, along with USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers says the "cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible."
Over 780,000 youth received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provided no legal status or government benefits but did provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and reprieve from deportation. Read the full statement.
Our Family Has Arrived!!
On February 16th the Cheikho family arrived at Dulles airport. They have settled into their new home, the children are getting registered for school, mom and dad are enrolled in English as a Second Language class, and everyone is learning to navigate their new community. The family is experiencing a lot of changes and learning to live in their new country. Holy Trinity parishioners are getting acquainted with the family and learning quite a lot about government services and systems as well. All is going well, however, prayers for the family's transition and continued good health would be appreciated.
We also still need some funds to cover expenses during the family's first year in the U.S. You may donate to cover rent and necessities at the button above. If you have any questions, please contact Kate Tromble at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statements from Catholic Organizations on Executive Order
- Statements from US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal McElroy, and Cardinal Cupich on president Trump's Executive Order banning Syrian refugees from the U.S.
- Statement from the Jesuit Conference of US and Canada on Trump Administration's Executive Order.
- A reflection from our own Chris Crawford from Dulles airport.
- National Catholic Reporter article by Tom Reese, SJ on our family.
- Catholic Standard article on Holy Trinity School children's walk for refugees.
- Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services can answer questions and provide legal assistance at reduced fees.
Actions You Can Take
Pray & Act
- Pray for our family at a vigil on Monday Februay 6 at 7:00 pm in Holy Trinity's St.Ignatius Chapel.
- Visit congressional offices to describe your experience with trying to welcome a refugee family and express your concern about the executive order. Tuesday February 7, meet at 8:00 am at Holy Trinity (McKenna Hall).
Raise Your Voice
- Join the Jesuit Conference by signing this petition opposing the executive order.
- You can also sign this petition on MoveOn or this one by Oxfam USA stating opposition to any plans to stop refugee resettlement. Remember to confirm your sign-on via your email, otherwise it won’t be counted.
- Tweet @realDonaldTrump & @POTUS:
.@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS Don't stop welcoming refugees. Resettlement demonstrates the best of our values #RefugeesWelcome
.@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS People of faith OPPOSE a religious litmus test for refugees bit.ly/
FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees hias.org/1500rabbis # RefugeesWelcome
- Send the White House a Facebook message at Facebook.com/WhiteHouse AND submit an electronic message at whitehouse.gov/contact:
President Trump, as a Catholic I am STRONGLY opposed to your executive order which denies access to refugees based on their religion or their nationality. Please reject such ideas, as a religious litmus test for safety is an affront to religious liberty.
As a Catholic, I urge you to allow the U.S. refugee program to continue to resettle refugees that need our protection regardless of where they come from or how they pray. Thank you for your leadership in ensuring the U.S. remains a beacon of hope for all those who are persecuted that seek peace, safety and freedom. bit.ly/
Interested in helping out?
If you wish to become involved with our efforts to support a refugee family (we are confident we will eventually accompany one or more families), please contact us at email@example.com.
If you are already part of the refugee effort and need information on your specific team, you may contact the team leads below.
|Employment Team||Ursela Groat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carlos Ojeda (email@example.com)
|Clothing Team||Beth Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Amy Garcia (email@example.com)
|ESL/Education Team||Michelle Steinberg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kathy Opitz (email@example.com)
|Finance Team||Barbara Patocka (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Food Team||Fish Brown (email@example.com)
Tina Namian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Housing & Furnishing Team||Michelle Krocker (email@example.com)
Radha Iyengar (Radha.Iyengar@gmail.com)
|Medical/Legal Team||Chris Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Transportation Team||Mike Conway (email@example.com)
Alicia Ritchie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Welcome Team||Diane Kelly (email@example.com)
Aurora Santiago (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carolyn Van Brocklin (email@example.com)
Background on Holy Trinity's Involvement with the Good Neighbor Program
We have all seen and heard the tragedies striking families around the world, especially families in Syria and the surrounding areas of the Middle East. These families through no fault of their own have become refugees – their homes have been destroyed, families torn apart, and lives unimaginably changed without a clear path for the future. Holy Trinity is partnering with Lutheran Social Services (LSS) – one of the nine voluntary resettlement agencies operating in the U.S. – to co-sponsor a refugee family arriving from the Middle East.
Holy Trinity also is committed to welcoming those migrants who arrive in the U.S. in other ways. As Pope Francis tells us:
On this continent … thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.
Our hearts must remain open to those who come seeking a better life. Holy Trinity offers a place of welcome and respite to all people seeking God's love. We also offer the practical resources below that can help a newly arrived individual or family to Washington, DC.
- These videos present information and guidance on a range of topics and scenarios in which immigrants are likely to find themselves.
- Additional written resources can be found at this link.
- Two other legal resources are Ayuda and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC)
Good Neighbor Program Commitment
As co-sponsors, Holy Trinity parishioners will work closely together to help a newly-arrived refugee family rebuild their lives in America. Parishioners will serve as personal guides through a culture and community that is new and often strange to our refugee neighbors. We will help them reestablish their lives financially, but will also accompany them through this incredibly uncertain and scary time. We hope to become friends and to welcome this new family into our community, our lives, and our hearts. Our commitment to the Good Neighbor program is for one year, during which we will provide the following broad areas of assistance:
- Assist in finding housing that meets refugee family needs prior to arrival;
- Collect and provide all furnishings and household supplies required for resettlement;
- Furnish and set up apartment home prior to family’s arrival;
- Provide rental assistance for up to one year;
- Ensure the family’s pantry is stocked with culturally-appropriate groceries upon their arrival and for at least one month thereafter;
- Pick up the family from the airport and welcome them to the community, including preparing a welcoming meal;
- Ensure the family has culturally-appropriate clothing;
- Accompany family members to medical appointments and assist as an advocate for the family’s healthcare access;
- Assist the family in developing English skills;
- Facilitate financial education for the family;
- Help the adult family members find employment and work toward self-sufficiency;
- Provide transportation as needed; and
- Act as guides to the family’s new community
Interested in helping out?
You can donate funding to cover rent and necessities at the button above. If you’d like details about what else you can do to help, contact Chris Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Tromble at email@example.com or (202) 903-2809