How Can I Help Immigrants?
Educate yourself on immigration matters
Find out what the laws are
- Visit the USCIS website. Click Laws for access to the complete and current US immigration statutes (Immigration and Nationality Act) and regulations (Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations).
- Buy current books on immigration law from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center or the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Learn about the current immigration situation and develop a biblical perspective
- Check out the Immigrant Hope Recommended Reading list.
Find local resources
- Find local coalitions or agencies that provide help and resources to immigrants.
- Attend “Know Your Rights” workshops and learn about local immigration practices and issues. Consider holding these workshops and seminars at your church.
- Find attorneys or non-profit agencies that will help immigrants if they are detained. Some attorneys will give free advice, or even represent certain immigrants for free. Make sure any attorney or agency is up-front about the expertise, qualifications, and costs.
- Provide a listening ear—be a safe place where people can confide.
- Learn about their specific situation, instead of making assumptions. Even undocumented immigrants may be:
- Children who grew up in the U.S. with no connection to their birth country.
- Teenagers trying to go to college.
- Victims of domestic abuse.
- Victims of human trafficking – for sex or forced labor.
- Victims of persecution and oppression in their home country.
- Help carry the emotional burdens of living in a new place, especially if there are legal complications.
- Help plan for problems before they happen – how will the family eat or pay rent if the parents cannot work? Who will care for the children if the parents are detained? What attorney or non-profit agency will represent them?
- Be a voice for immigrants – use your resources, connections, and understanding of the culture to give them the same advantages you would expect.
Care for immigrants as whole people
- Do not reduce people to their immigration status – they have good and bad sides, successes and failures, pride and regrets, hopes and fears, just like anyone else.
- They need for spiritual and emotional health, friendship and community, purpose and dignity just as much as help with their immigration or legal problems.