Congregations and organizations seeking to formalize, improve and/or expand their services to immigrants in detention have until Oct. 18 to apply for grants that Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will award for those purposes.
The grants will be drawn from a funding pool provided by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Wheat Ridge Ministries.
Although the application process is open to all churches and organizations, preference will be given to ministries working in LIRS’ hub communities of Austin/San Antonio; Boston; Chicago; Elizabeth, N.J./New York City; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Seattle/Tacoma; and Tucson/Phoenix.
To download an application form, click here.
For more information about the grants, contact Julia Coffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“On any given day, the U.S. government incarcerates more than 34,000 immigrants in a vast network of over 250 federal, private, state and local jails,” said Liz Sweet, director for Access to Justice, the LIRS unit that serves immigrants affected by detention.
“For people in detention,” Sweet continued, “the months or even years spent awaiting asylum or another solution can be extremely lonely and full of fear. The legal process is complex and emotionally draining, while the detention facilities can be dehumanizing and potentially traumatizing for people facing possible deportation.”
Sweet added that LIRS is “excited to work” in collaboration with its partners in the hub communities “to provide hope, strength and a voice for these detainees, through supporting the creation and expansion of immigration-detention visitation ministries.”
She said that LIRS is “extremely grateful to Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for enabling LIRS to support the creation and expansion of immigration-detention visitation ministries.”
“If your church or organization could benefit from a small grant to formalize, improve and/or expand service to immigrants in detention, LIRS wants to partner with you to educate, support and advocate for people isolated in detention,” Sweet states in an LIRS news release.
The news release notes that “LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating with and for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social-service partners across the United States.”
LIRS — based in Baltimore — welcomes refugees on behalf of the LCMS, the ELCA and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
For more information about LIRS and its work, visit the organization’s website at lirs.org.