LETTER: Why I Care: How to make our community more supportive

  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 11:24am
  • Opinion

It saddens me that local immigrants are feeling less secure and more isolated. Our policies and the definitions of immigration status are regularly challenged and variably interpreted and enforced. As the security and rights of our immigrant friends diminish, their levels of stress increase. The uncertainty about status makes it difficult for them to make personal long-term plans or to participate fully in our community. This toll is heartbreaking. I ask you to join me in making our community more welcoming and supportive. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Step out personally: Be warm and personable to counter the growing sense of isolation. Let your acquaintances know how much you enjoy and appreciate them. Indicate that you are willing to help if they feel vulnerable.

2. Become an ally on the island: Join the Indivisible Immigrant & Refugee Rights Working Group by emailing susiemurf@gmail.com. This local group researches and distributes information on immigration policy, enforcement practices, “Know Your Rights” information and family safety plans. It hosts a bi-monthly book club on relevant topics and engages in ally trainings.

3. Engage in regional trainings and actions: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy and community education. Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AIDNW) serves detained immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center by ending isolation through visitation programs, working to obtain release from the center through sponsorship and supporting newly released immigrants by providing clothing, transportation and short-term housing if necessary. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sponsors People Power trainings, promotes Freedom Cities policies and advocates for the rights of non-citizens.

— Nancy Murphy

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