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Immigrant Justice

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33).

Brit OlamThis is the most-repeated commandment in all of Torah. With the Board of Directors' action, Temple Beth Am joins a growing cohort of Reform congregations that have signed on to the Religious Action Center's Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) and who have declared themselves to be Immigrant Justice Congregations. Further, we unite with a host of faith communities of all denominations across our region under the auspices of the Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) who have pledged in various ways to support immigrants at risk of deportation. Read the Board's Resolution on becoming an Immigrant Justice Congregation here.

Contact Susan Schulkin or Diane Baer to join the Immigrant Justice Action Team, receive our emails, and find out how you can get involved. Here are some recent examples of opportunities for team members:

Donate Time or Money During COVID-19: Volunteers may be able to help asylum seekers by tutoring online, assisting with finding an apartment, or offering virtual companionship and financial support.

Volunteer with the COVID-19 Hotline of the WA Immigrant Solidarity Network: The Hotline's role has expanded in recent weeks, and it now gets hundreds of calls each day from immigrants around the state, with questions about basic resources such as groceries, rent assistance, employment rights, and how to find out if health concerns might be related to Coronavirus. If you are bilingual, apply here to learn more about being a Hotline Responder or a Case Manager. Research volunteers are needed to investigate resources in particular counties or service categories, do data entry, and provide on-call research to support Hotline responders. The first step is filling out this application form

Donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Undocumented Individuals in Washington State: The federal government's relief checks did not go to any undocumented people or even to mixed-status families, despite them working and paying taxes. Thanks to volunteers and in-kind donations from partner organizations like the Washington Dream Coalition and NW Immigrant Rights Project, 100% of donations will go directly to immigrant families in need. To donate, click here.

Donate airline miles to help coordinate travel for immigrants and refugees, and for volunteer lawyers to get to the border to do frontline immigration work by clicking here or here

Accompaniment: Sign up for a webinar now to learn how you can be a friendly and supportive ally as an accompaniment volunteer later, when offices and courts reopen. Volunteers will be needed to accompany immigrants and their family members to fingerprinting appointments at the immigration office in Tukwila, bond hearings in Tacoma, and state court hearings where there is a fear of ICE presence in both Western and Eastern Washington. 

Learning Opportunities: Sign up to receive our emails about upcoming opportunities for learning. 

Advocacy: Contact elected officials, urging them to ensure the health and well-being of all Washington residents, regardless of their status. On Facebook, like and follow the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice Northwest (JCIJ-NW) to get advocacy action alerts. For more information on immigration issues and to keep updated on local opportunities for demonstrating solidarity, here are four organizations we partner with:

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism ("RAC")

Faith Action Network (FAN)

Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN)

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Update on José Robles

After living for a year in sanctuary at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle, José Robles has now been detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma since July 17, 2019. José is still awaiting an expedited decision on his U-Visa. Before July 2018, José provided the primary income to his family - his wife, three daughters, and one granddaughter - since they first created a home in Washington many years ago. Legal bills add up, and everything costs money at the commissary in the detention center – text messages, phone calls, toothpaste, soap, and snacks like ramen cups and sodas.

Ways you can offer support:

  • Donate online via Gethsemane Lutheran Church. Link here, specify an amount, then choose "Sanctuary." Your gift will go directly to help defray José’s ongoing costs.
  • Send cards with notes of solidarity, addressed to José Alberto Robles-Martinez (-6160); NW Detention Center; 1623 E J Street, Tacoma, WA 98421-1615. Be sure to include your name and return address on the envelope. Do not enclose money, but photos and drawings and newspaper articles are okay. Writing in English is fine – just use your best handwriting so José can read it.
Sun, May 24 2020 1 Sivan 5780