The Rev. Lyda Pierce participates in a rally outside the federal court in Yakima, Washington, where several residents of Ellensburg, Washington, were being held following their arrest during a January 20 immigration sweep. Pierce is coordinator for Hispanic and Latino ministries of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Photo by Paul Jeffrey.

By Rev. Lyda Pierce | Director of Hispanic/Latino Ministries

Joyful, angry, sad, thankful, confused about the president’s executive order on immigration?

You are not alone.

I listened to the speech in Yakima with a group organized by Dreamers, youth and young adult immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. There were also a few immigration attorneys, community leaders, and adult first generation immigrants. When the speech was done the room was silent. No cheers, boos, or tears. Many were trying to sort it out: what does it mean for me, my family, and my neighbors? Some were waiting for the translation, which was shortly given as a summary by one of the Dreamers.  It was still confusing. Who is in and who is still out?

Excitement, worry, confusion, and, most likely, some misinformation abounds and will continue to do so until the whole process is set up with fees, forms, dates and deadlines all published. Meanwhile the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has published a short informational flier in English and Spanish.

Your church can be of service to people in your community by helping to share this information about the president’s executive order. Posting it in a publically visible spot, and making copies available, will help circulate accurate information and will also let the community know that you are a group of people who welcome and care for immigrants. You may have undocumented immigrants in your congregation or among those who use your church building. If you don’t know, this might be a great opportunity to check with a nearby ethnic congregation and community groups that are likely to have many immigrants. Please share.

As many of us prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Rev. John McCullough, of Church World Service, reminds us:

“Let us hold in our prayers of gratitude the millions of lives changed by this executive action, as well as the millions of agricultural workers who make our Thanksgiving feasts possible. And let us recommit ourselves to the struggle for justice for all migrants across our nation and world. Let us reflect on the words invoked by President Obama, found in Exodus 23:

‘You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’

More information:

  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: LINK
  • Church World Service: LINK
  • Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON): LINK
  • White House information page: LINK
  • More details available from the coalition Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation: LINK


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