The effect of the current administration’s policies on immigrant families is devastatingly real. Yet, in the midst of day-to-day fear and dread, families are finding hope and assistance from others — often in unexpected places.
Despite differences in belief systems, religious faith-based institutions and their communities have an important goal in common: to provide service for those in need. The way in which this goal translates into our current world varies; but for some, it has been to provide safe houses for immigrant families that are living in fear.
A recent CNN article highlighted the story of an immigrant family in California; a mother who is an out of status immigrant and her two United States citizen daughters. Their husband/father had unexpectedly and alarmingly been deported to Mexico, forcing them to flee their home and possessions. A fellow Californian woman, who is part of an interfaith network that provides support to immigrant families, had rented an apartment in which the family could reside. Doing so has allowed the girls to continue their schooling and provides the very basic need of shelter. Understandably, this brave woman has requested anonymity; hopefully, there are many more people like her, taking similar risks.
People have various personal reasons for offering safe houses to immigrant families who are terrified of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (or ICE’s) destructive path. Yet, there is a common theme among them: a moral obligation to help! A network of resistors has banded together to provide hope and safety to families. And it doesn’t stop there.
On the opposite coast, the law is catching up. New York has recently instituted a law granting immigrants the right to counsel. The presence of an attorney will help ensure that human rights are honored — this support is invaluable.
Change and support is happening on many levels and across the country. As this movement grows, more and more families will be helped — and the help is undoubtedly life-changing!
As legal citizens, it may be difficult to imagine the terror that immigrant and/or undocumented families live with each day. But we can empathize with the emotions — common to us all.