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American Friends Service Committee

In this issue:

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On sacred ground: Encountering God's transforming power at an immigrant rights march

“For our country, let us toil joyfully:” Supporting Haitians in becoming citizens in Florida

Witness to a family’s tragedy

Deported without warning: How the loss of a father in Newark is affecting a community (PODCAST)

Take Action


My husband is British. I remember sitting in what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office soon after our wedding, waiting to be interviewed so that he could get his green card. It was October 2001, and there were very few people in the waiting room. Our immigration lawyer said that since 9/11, many of his clients had been showing up for their interviews and getting arrested, so many had stopped coming.

Though our joint credit card seemed to matter more to the INS officer than our wedding album, Graham’s green card was approved. I realized that day that Graham and I had European/white skin privilege in our petition for his immigration status.

Since then, he has remained a permanent resident and isn’t planning on becoming a citizen. He doesn’t worry about his immigration status; there have been no threats of deportation or losing his green card. But his experience is not the same as many immigrants.

A co-worker at AFSC, also European-American, is married to a man from Trinidad. His story has not been so easy. His most recent petition for legal status was denied despite the fact that he is married to a U.S. citizen. The hard truth about the current immigration system is that families are pulled apart daily in what is often a very arbitrary process. There is no “line” or legal path to citizenship for those who have entered the country without papers.  

Though the current proposed legislation is far from establishing a just, humane system, it opens an opportunity for a dialogue about immigration and real reform. AFSC has been working for immigrant justice for years and has just published a “new path” with suggested principles for immigration reform.  We just published a brief version, and you can also read the full document.

I hope you will join us in advocating for real change, for a system that recognizes that all have that of God within them and the right to stay with their families. Below are a summary of recent Acting in Faith posts about immigration and some ideas for action. Please check the immigrant rights section on our website regularly for updates.

In Peace,


Lucy Duncan
Friends Liaison

Recent Acting in Faith posts on immigration

On sacred ground: Encountering God's transforming power at an immigrant rights march

Guest blogger Judy Goldberger says, “On Saturday, May 1st, I witnessed … an inbreaking of God’s deeper reality. In the face of rhetoric that names undocumented immigrants as animals, invaders, and thieves, men, women, and children had come together to assert their humanity and the nation’s obligation to treat them with respect. I was standing on sacred ground.”

“For our country, let us toil joyfully:” Supporting Haitians in becoming citizens in Florida

I visited AFSC’s program in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., which supports Haitian immigrants in preparing for the citizenship test. “I’m hopeful that the immigration reforms being considered in Congress will help to make all immigrants’ experience more equitable, regardless of country of origin, skin tone, or whether they are able to pass the citizenship test. I’m hopeful that families will be able to stay together, as mine has been able to do.”

Witness to a family’s tragedy

Staff member Elissa Steglich writes about a client who was recently deported: “We as a nation like to take credit for the ’immigrant success stories.’ We need to accept responsibility for the tragedies as well. My tax dollars locked my client up today. My government crushed a kind man's heart for no good reason.”

Deported without warning: How the loss of a father in Newark is affecting a community (PODCAST)

Madeline Schaefer interviews the girlfriend of the man deported in the above post. “Kofi (whose name was changed for this story) was detained and deported to his home country in Africa. The family he left behind—including a girlfriend and two children—are struggling with his absence, unsure of their future or his fate. Hear the story of this family, and hear how the AFSC community in Newark is speaking out against his deportation and others that tear apart families.”

Take action

Tell the Senate: Protect immigrants from endless delays

S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, has reached the Senate floor for debate. The latest version creates unreasonable delays in bringing families together.

Your voice is needed to ensure new laws are humane!

To hear about important immigration issues and ways to take action, please join, AFSC's Immigration Rights email list.

Take a look at the immigrant ally resources for Quaker meetings
. Consider hosting a study group, starting a letter writing ladder, or adopting a policymaker to help the work for just immigration reform.

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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