Last weekend, LIRS staff and supporters participated in the 13th annual National Gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, which brought together over a thousand people of faith from across the country. This year’s gathering focused on mass incarceration, with a particular emphasis on immigration detention. To continue to shed light on the inhumane practice of family detention, LIRS hosted two workshops for EAD participants:
- Alternatives to Detention: Success in Our Communities: This workshop focused in part on community-based alternative to detention programs for immigrants. Sister JoAnn Persch from the Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, a network partner of LIRS, presented on the Sisters’ successful community-based alternative to detention model.
- Skills Workshop on America’s Immigration Detention System: In this skills workshop, LIRS’s Access to Justice unit walked participants through America’s vast immigration detention system and offered skills and opportunities to advocate for reduced reliance on detention. Staff provided background information on the detention of adults and families and also offered concrete opportunities to get involved, including LIRS’s detention visitation ministry.
On Saturday and Sunday, LIRS staff had the pleasure of tabling along with other organizations in the exhibition room. We spoke with countless concerned individuals about our work to end family detention. Throughout the course of the weekend, over 80 individuals filled out postcards to their members of Congress urging them to stand alongside LIRS and people of faith to end family detention.
On Monday, LIRS hosted a lunch on Capitol Hill for more than 50 Lutheran EAD participants and their friends, Congressional staff, and several experts on family detention. We heard from Maunica Sthanki, Immigration Counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on the current legislative state of play surrounding family detention and other immigration issues. The room went silent as she recounted her experience representing a mother and her eleven-year-old son who were held in solitary confinement as retaliation for the mother’s participation in a hunger strike at the Karnes family detention facility in Texas.
Together, lunch attendees discussed the ways in which we can all work together to end family detention. Please consider joining us by taking action through LIRS’s Action Center to urge your Members of Congress to end this inhumane practice.