Immigration Justice & Sanctuary Team

The members of First Unitarian voted to become a Sanctuary Church at the Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

Providing sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant under immediate threat of deportation is not the ultimate goal of the sanctuary movement, nor should it be our goal.

The actual work of sanctuary involves leaving the comfort of our church building and engaging with the immigrant community, learning about our immigration system and the issues immigrants face, and allying with the immigrant community to promote a more just immigration system.  We must get involved with the people and communities that are directly impacted by our unjust immigration laws; it is only through relationships that we can hope to alter the common dialog that surrounds immigration, and ultimately change laws that criminalize people’s desperate search for a better life for themselves and their families.

In order to address the many areas of immigration justice, Immigration Justice and Sanctuary Team continues this important work. Many people are needed to take on this important work. We ask church members to join the teams below. Contact Michael Lauer at lauermic@gmail.com to volunteer.

Each of the teams should have a representative attend corresponding team meetings through Iowa Sanctuary Movement.

  • Policy writing/legal – write policies (reference list created for last meeting), coordinate with Iowa Sanctuary Movement to assure all members’ policies meet legal needs, determine types of volunteer trainings needed and schedule.
  • Advocacy – Coordinate with immigrant-led organizations to support their agendas, use connections church members already have (e.g. SURJ) to assist immigrant organizations with letter writing, phone calls, publicizing marches and other actions, and recruit UU volunteers to support these actions.
  • Education/Outreach – Schedule classes and book groups, speakers and forums, for church members, larger community, and other members of Iowa Sanctuary Movement to increase knowledge of immigration history, law, and experiences of our immigrant communities.
  • Logistics/supplies – ready the church for possible sanctuary guest, including what is needed for room, overseeing shower installation, determine items needed for hosting (walkie-talkies, bedding, etc.).
  • Volunteer coordination – work with membership coordinator on immigration justice/sanctuary portion of congregational survey, work with legal/policy writing to determine types of training needed and schedule trainings for volunteers across the Iowa Sanctuary Movement, help recruit volunteers for other teams and actions as needed.

Immigration Class

A 6-week class is offered in Fall 2017. Click here to register.

Immigration as a Moral Issue
2nd & 4th Wednesdays, September 13 – December 13, 6:30 – 8 pm
This 6 week class gives a broad overview of the complex issue of immigration with an overview of the history of immigration in the U.S., economics of immigration, enforcement and human rights, who benefits from our broken system, and seeking solutions.
A belief in “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” is core to Unitarian Universalism: every person, no exceptions. As religious people, our Principles call us to acknowledge the immigrant experience and to affirm and promote the flourishing of the human family.
Facilitator: Sue Huber