From Fleeing the Death Squad in El Salvador to Lutheran Pastor — Pastor Pedro Portillo Shares His Story


Today, I’m delighted to share the courageous story of Pastor Pedro Portillo. In the 1980’s, Pastor Portillo fled persecution by a paramilitary group called Death Squad in El Salvador. Now a Lutheran pastor at Iglesia Luterana La Transfiguracion (The Transfiguration Lutheran Church) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Pastor Pedro tells of his life in El Salvador before he fled, and how all Americans play a role in creating a stronger, more welcoming and just society. This interview was conducted by Folabi Olagbaju, LIRS National Grassroots Director, and Clarissa Perkins, LIRS Marketing Project Manager. Clarissa Perkins (CP): Can you tell us a bit about your journey to the United States as an immigrant? Pastor Pedro Portillo (PP): I came to the United States in 1980 … [Read More...]


HEADLINES: Border Crisis — October 23, 2014

Even though the number of unaccompanied minors streaming across the border has decreased in recent months, the factors that forced many from their homes still exist. Drug gangs still run in Guatemala, people are still disappearing in El Salvador, … [Read More...]


Haitian Family Reunification Victory! Obama Administration Announces Program to Expedite Family Reunification

Last Friday, I was greatly heartened to see the Obama Administration announce that they will begin to expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitians. Called the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) program, the program will … [Read More...]


Elections, Voters, and Ads — Top Picks of the Immigration and Refugee Blogosphere

From Colorado to Kentucky, immigration continues to take center stage as mid-term campaigns enter their final weeks. However, it is time for the rhetoric to stop and for action to start in order to prevent repeating the story that Aura Bogado brings … [Read More...]


HEADLINES: Border Crisis — October 15, 2014

Immigration remains a hot topic along the campaign trail as congressional representatives enter the last few weeks of their mid-term campaigns. While politicians argue, migrants and refugees are forced to risk their lives in pursuit of a better life … [Read More...]


Massive New Family Detention Facility to Open in Texas — National Action Alert

The federal immigration enforcement authorities recently announced they will open a massive family detention facility in Dilley, Texas. The Dilley facility will detain 2,400 mothers and children once it is fully operational and will be the largest … [Read More...]


Prayer Vigil to End Family Detention on Oct. 20th — Make an Impact in the Lives of Detained Mothers and Children

It deeply saddens me to write that the inhumane and archaic practice of family detention is growing in our country. As LIRS and other organizations have documented again and again, detention is no place for children. There is no humane method to … [Read More...]


Sanctuary, Welcome, and Licenses — Top Picks of the Immigration and Refugee Blogosphere

Despite inaction by the President and congressional representatives, people of faith across the country continue to support migrants and refugees. This week I’d like to highlight two pieces from Sojourners that set two examples of how the faith … [Read More...]


HEADLINES: Border Crisis — October 8, 2014

This week the Obama administration introduced a plan that would allow migrant children to apply for refugee or asylum status in their home country, saving them from making the treacherous journey alone north. Hopefully under this plan, stories about … [Read More...]


Two Successes for the Protection of Children and Families!

Thus far, Congress and the Administration have not set a good track record in their response to the increased needs of children and families seeking safety in the United States. However, this week, in the wake of attempts to rollback legal … [Read More...]


Learn How to Foster Refugee Community Engagement in Upcoming Webinar

Like many of you, I engage in my community on such a daily basis that I often take it for granted. I vote, attend local festivals, volunteer. But for many new Americans, it can be difficult to learn how to engage in their new community. Here at … [Read More...]