An organization by the name of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has decided to award grants of up to $2,500 to organizations and churches who in some way improve or expand services to immigrants currently in detention facilities.
The U.S. government locks up about 34,000 immigrants throughout the network of 250 federal, private, state and local jails on any given day. This leaves a lot of people with different circumstances and in need of legal aid. LIRS is collaborating with partners to try to help immigrants through providing “hope, strength and a voice for the detainees, through supporting the creation and expansion of immigration detention visitation ministries.” The “hub communities” that are planning to partner with LIRS are set up all over the U.S. some in Chicago, Texas and Boston. LIRS encourages any and all organization and churches to help out regardless of religious affiliation. LIRS has also supported immigrant rights groups in Missouri as well. The process involves filling out an application and contacting the spokesperson for LIRS.
The funds are drawn from a funding pool which enables the creation and support of the visitation ministries program within the detention centers. “For people in detention, 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,” said Liz Sweet, Director for Access to Justice. The mission of the program extends beyond raising awareness to those forgotten sitting in detention facilities, but it is about offering understanding and help to those temporarily incarcerated. LIRS has been nationally recognized for advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention and families broken apart because of immigration issues. This is another way organizations are making a difference in immigrants communities and piece together a broken process.
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