///Rapid Response
 Rapid Response

November 20, 2014



Dear Disciples Partners,


As you have no doubt heard through most recent news, the White House revealed yesterday afternoon that President Obama will announce at 8 p.m. ET TONIGHT his plans for Executive Actions to fix some elements of our nation's broken immigration system. It was gratifying to hear this news immediately following return yesterday outside the White House with farm workers who have traveled across the country this week to offer a "Thanksgiving invitation" to urge the President to take such action. They testified as the faces of immigrants-like those pictured here--who grow our food, improve our economy, and have invested for so many years in U.S. communities.

By offering Executive Action, President Obama will join with every President since 1956 who has used their legal administrative authority as a way to grant temporary immigration relief to support suffering families in need of assistance. Thirty nine separate times, Executive Action has been used to implement relief. These have offered large scale aid through examples such as the "Family Fairness" policies under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr., as well as Cuban paroles in the 1960s and Southeast Asian paroles in the late 1970s. Administrations have also supported family based actions, such as the parole of foreign born orphans under Eisenhower, and actions during times of pending legislation, such as Clinton's deferred action to battered immigrants who would later be offered protection through the Violence Against Women Act. (Source: American Immigration Council, "Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present," Oct. 2014)

Although we are unsure exactly what will be included in this plan, we have heard it may affect as many as 5 million of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants by, in part, expanding deferred action policies for childhood arrivals and also potentially for parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents, offering citizenship fee reductions for the first 10,000 applicants, and bolstering border security and pay for immigration officers. Farm worker leaders also expect at least a quarter million of the nation's 2 million farm workers could be assisted under these proposals.

Persons working for years to support immigration justice are excited about these historic advances, while also concerned for those likely to be left out of the action. And-along with the President-we understand that Administrative Action is only a temporary step as we continue to call upon Congress for long term legislative solutions to bring lasting immigration reforms.


In preparation, our Refugee & Immigration Ministries office is readying materials to be available to congregations and individuals concerned about and potentially impacted by the coming announcement. These materials, and ongoing updates over the coming days and weeks, will be shared on our Refugee & Immigration Ministries website and on our Facebook site, and through our various Disciples news outlets. We hope to include statements from leadership, stories of impacted immigrant Disciples and families, consistent action and advocacy updates, opportunities for and examples of congregational responses, and important legal guidance from our Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel to avoid scams and begin to prepare needed documents if eligible to do so. As we walk toward tonight's historic message, we urge that you:

  1. TODAY, BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT, CALL TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS! Join with ecumenical partners around the country to take advantage of this remaining moment to urge the President now to offer inclusive administrative relief. Link here for numbers and a sample script! (English and Spanish) Urge him to not leave out those who have lived in the U.S. for less time, who may not have a US citizen or legal permanent resident family member, who may have committed immigration infractions or other minor crimes but have turned their lives around. And urge him to include MORE farm workers who grow our food and economy!
  2. TONIGHT, WATCH THE PRESIDENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT LIVE!! Tune in live from your home or church at: WhiteHouse.gov/Live. Or, consider joining with interested persons and impacted communities for public watch events in your area! For a full list of events around the country thus far announced. Also, for additional details about these events. Then, please tweet pictures and comments from your events to: @StanleyRea, or email to: [email protected].
  3. BEGINNING TOMORROW, RESPOND TO THE PRESIDENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT! Learn about next steps and denomination leader statements through resources we will be providing on our RIM website and Facebook. Please pray for immigrants not affected by the relief. Please share stories (and pictures, if possible) of immigrants who will benefit by the relief, and also those left out, with your neighbors and church-to help put human faces on the President's announced actions-and PLEASE email those stories to [email protected], or call to Sharon Stanley-Rea at: 202-957-7826. Write an Op-Ed for your local news, and lift up a family story in worship. And, stay tuned for developing support and advocacy actions through our RIM office and Disciples publications.

With blessings as we work together to answer God's call to welcome the stranger, Sharon Stanley-Rea, Refugee & Immigration Ministries Director 

For further information, please contact: Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Refugee & Immigration Ministries/Disciples Home Missions, [email protected], 202-957-7826