How do you keep in touch with immigration concerns when everyone is hunkered down in their homes? You do it as best you can through technology!
For a couple immigration-focused ministries we have had the opportunity to meet via Zoom. Interesting what a joy that can be….it lets us know how we’ve missed our co-ministers!
One group, of IPC members (Immigration Parish Coordinators) met together on April 2 for a presentation on Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conducted by Beth Knobbe, the Midwest Community Engagement Manager. Beth shared about the situations of refugees around the world and the positive impact we can have through advocacy and support.
The most well-known CRS activity at this time of year is the CRS Rice Bowl where families sacrifice during Lent and send their contributions to support the work of CRS. They offer many ideas (crsricebowl.org or crsplatodearroz.org) for families looking for something meaningful to share during this stay-at-home time. Catholic Relief Services www.crs.org has offered services world-wide for over 75 years.
April 3, ICDI members (Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants) [met with] more than 60 of its volunteers and staff on Zoom. A major concern [of theirs] is the children in the shelter programs. Suggestions were offered for virtual visits, activities and religious celebrations for these children already traumatized by their plight, and now, isolated even more, with a slow down or cancellation of their court processes.
Transit assistance organized to help migrants traveling to their host families has been suspended. Great numbers of persons [are not] being released at this time [yet] it is still difficult to know that those who are traveling will not receive assistance.
Unfortunately, one on one sharing, which was the main focus, is no longer an option. The opportunity to talk with detainees face to face to offer care and support cannot be done – even through technology. Letter writing (snail mail) is the only alternative.
Many other programs are being postponed, redirected or managed in creative ways. Who knew that helping people would become such a challenge? Yet, thanks be to God, there are dedicated staff members up to that challenge!