Many of us are watching the humanitarian crisis at the border and asking, “What can we do?” On Sunday, we answered that question with action: about 15 letters sent to our elected officials. Several other people took sample letters and calling information, and several asked for online information, so here it is.
One action to take is to write to Senators Harris and Feinstein, and to your representative in the House, to ask them to pass legislation that would reunite families and get children out of detention. Pending legislation in the House is the Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act (H.R. 1069), and pending legislation in the Senate are their Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act (S.R. 397) and the Families Not Facilities Act (S. 388). Sample letters are here. Your own words are great to use too. The key elements are: be specific about what you’re asking for; express why it matters to you; be polite; and include your address, especially if you’re a constituent.
The addresses of several local members of Congress are here, as are the sources of the information we used.
You can use the online contact forms that every member of Congress has (Senators’ pages are here and Representatives’ are here). However, in a lifetime of advocacy, I have been advised that individual letters have more impact. Calls are also a good idea–to any office, local or in D.C.; in any case, you will be speaking to staff members, who tally callers’ views and pass them along. Constituents’ views are given more weight, but there’s nothing wrong with calling any of the other 533 members of Congress as well.
Speaking of calling, the second issue we were addressing on Sunday was the potential use of hotel rooms as ICE detention centers. With the raids that were threatened for this past weekend, ICE officials were saying they did not have room in detention centers for any more inmates, and were planning to use hotels. While the conditions might well be better than those in the detention centers (they could hardly be worse), a prison is a prison and what we need is a humane, workable immigration policy. Using our influence as consumers, we can pressure hotels not to cooperate with ICE. A call script, and numbers of the biggest hotel chains’ corporate headquarters, are here.
Some good organizations–UU, local, national–are:
- Love Resists (Unitarian Universalist)
- Side with Love (Unitarian Universalist)
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (Unitarian Universalist)
- RAICES, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (national)
- Sanctuary DMV (national)
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (national)
- Together and Free (national, with a local network)
- Faith in Action (national, with a local network)
And to begin networking with other UUCPA folks who are concerned about justice for immigrants and refugees, join the Immigration Action mailing list.
Thanks for putting our values into action and sustaining our hope,