We Are All America Day of Action

Join us for a National Day of Congressional Action to stand with immigrants, refugees and Muslim people: The politics of fear in our nation continue to escalate targeting immigrants, refugees and Muslim people with harsh, unjust and discriminatory policies through the Trump administration’s Executive Orders. We must lift our voices to make our members of Congress be a check on President Trump and stop these unjust policies. Together we can remind our representatives that #WeAreAllAmerica!

On February 3rd, 2017, we organized 36 national events for #WeAreAllAmerica Day of Solidarity Actions with Muslims and refugees. For more information on this past event, visit the HERE.

What is the National Day for Congressional National Action?

All over the U.S., faith, immigrant, and refugee leaders and their allies will visit Members of Congress in-district during their President’s Day Recess, to peacefully express their support of:

  • Our nation’s programs of compassionate resettlement of refugees fleeing violence and persecution
  • An end to the cruel and unnecessary deportations destroying immigrant families
  • An end to discrimination against Muslims in our immigration policies


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017


Find a local event near you below!

Upcoming Events


Springdale: #WeAreAllAmerica Rally before Sen. Cotton Town Hall

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17 at 4:00pm
  • Address: Springdale High School Pat Walker Performing Arts Center
  • Lead Organizations: Arkansas United Community Coalition, Ozark Indivisible, LUCHA
  • Lead Contact: Michel Rangel, field@arkansascoalition.org


Phoenix: #WeAreAllAmerica Rally and Prayer Vigil

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17, Rally at 12:00-6:00pm MT, Prayer Vigil at 6:00-7:00pm MT
  • Address: 2200 East Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ
  • Lead Organizations: Promise Arizona, We Are All America Coalition
  • Lead Contact: James Garcia, jgcvm1@gmail.com


Los Angeles: #WeAreAllAmerica Immigration Panel Discussion & Press Conference with Sen. Kamala Harris

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: CHIRLA
  • Lead Contact: Isabel Sanchez, isanchez@chirla.org
  • Additional Details: If you are interested in attending or learning more, please reach out directly to Isabel Sanchez. This is not open to the public.

Los Angeles: #WeAreAllAmerica DHS Committee Roundtable Discussion

  • Date and Time: 2/23/17
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: California Table for CIR/Los Angeles Action Table
  • Lead Contact: Isabel Sanchez, isanchez@chirla.org
  • Additional Details: If you are interested in attending or learning more, please reach out directly to Isabel Sanchez. This is not open to the public.

Los Angeles: #WeAreAllAmerica Roundtable Discussion with Sen. Feinstein’s Staff 

  • Date and Time: 2/23/17
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: CHIRLA
  • Lead Contact: Isabel Sanchez, isanchez@chirla.org
  • Additional Details: If you are interested in attending or learning more, please reach out directly to Isabel Sanchez. This is not open to the public.

Sacramento: #WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Bera

  • Date and Time: 2/21/17
  • Lead Organizations: Church World Service Miami
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org

Modesto: #WeAreAllAmerica Canvass and Rally

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 1:00pm PT
  • Address: 4701 Sisk Road, Modesto, CA 95356
  • Lead Organizations: SIREN, SEIU Local 521, Mi Familia Vota
  • Lead Contact: Jeremy Barousse, jeremy@siren-bayarea.org
  • Additional Details: This event will include a canvass of the neighborhood, getting constituents to sign pledge cards and making phone calls into Rep. Jeff Denham’s office to denounce the Executive Orders on Immigration by the President, support bills that rescind the Executive Orders, and support the Bridge Act which would protect DACA recipients.

Glendale: #WeAreAllAmerica Conversation about the Refugee Program with Rep. Adam Schiff  

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 7:00pm PT
  • Address: Glendale Community College Mainstage Theater/Auditorium 1500 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale
  • Lead Organizations: Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, American Civil Liberties Union


Denver: “We Don’t Want SB90 Back in CO” Press Conference

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17, 1:30pm MT
  • Address: Colorado State Capitol: 200 E. 14th Denver, CO 80203
  • Lead Organizations: Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
  • Lead Contact: Ezzie Dominguez, ezzie@coloradoimmigrant.org
  • Additional Details: HB-1134 will be heard in the House State Affairs Committee at 1:30pm on Wednesday. CIRC is holding a press conference in the Capitol’s West Foyer at 2:00pm PT – join us in the Capitol lobby at 1:30. And we need everyone to call the legislators on the House State Affairs Committee to vote against hate and oppose HB-1134!

Denver: #WeAreAllAmerica Legislative visit with Sen. Gardner’s staff


Miami: #WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Ros Lehtinen 

  • Date and Time: 2/21/17
  • Lead Organizations: Church World Service Miami
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org

Miami: #WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Diaz Balart

  • Date and Time: 2/21/17
  • Lead Organizations: Church World Service Miami
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org


#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Rep. Isakson

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 10:00am ET
  • Address: Isakson’s Congressional Office
  • Lead Organizations: MPower Change
  • Lead Contact: Asma Elhurani


Willowbrook: #WeAreAllAmerica Join us in solidarity as we honor the diversity of this great country

#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Rep. Lipinski

#WeAreAllAmerica: IL Stands with Migrants and Refugees Call In Day

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17, 9:00am—5:00pm CT
  • Address: Chicago, IL
  • Lead Organizations: Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants
  • Lead Contact: Sara Wohlleb, UCIMChicago@gmail.com

#WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Roskam

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17, 2/23/17, and 2/24/17 all day
  • Address: Roskam’s office, Chicago, IL
  • Lead Organizations: MPower Change, ICIRR
  • Lead Contact: Aliya Hussein


Portland: Stand Up for Muslim Americans, Refugees, and Immigrants


Canton: #WeAreAllAmerica: Interfaith Solidarity March

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17 at 5:30pm ET
  • Address: Cherry Hill United Methodist Church, 321 Ridge Rd S, Canton, MI 48188
  • Lead Organizations: Michigan United, APIA Vote Michigan, United Methodist Church Detroit Conference Office of Mission and Justice, Bilal Masjid
  • Lead Contact: Adonis Flores, adonis@miunited.org
  • Additional Details: Christian and Muslim leaders will join together to call on members of Congress to stand with immigrants, Muslims and refugees. The group will begin at Cherry Hill United Methodist Church and march to Bilal Masjid in Canton.

#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Rep. Upton

  • Date and Time: 2/21/17
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: Bethany Christian Services Of Michigan
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org

Lansing: #WeAreAllAmerica: Solidarity Vigil


Omaha: #WeAreAllAmerica Light the Way for Refugees and Immigrants


Statewide Convening: #WeAreAllAmerica social media push


Elizabeth: Recess Resistance: Immigrant Rights Day of Action

#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Sen. Menendez

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 9:00am ET
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: MPower Change
  • Lead Contact: Anas Q.


Greensboro: #WeAreAllAmerica: Community Meeting for Refugees with Sen. Tillis and Rep. Walker

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17 at 11:00am ET
  • Address: New Arrivals Institute, 2714 W. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27403
  • Lead Organizations: Church World Service, New Arrivals Institute, African Services Coalition, Faith Action International House
  • Lead Contact: Adamou Mohamed, amohamed@cwsglobal.org
  • Additional Details: Refugees, constituents, employers of refugees, and faith leaders will speak and share stories to demonstrate support for refugees with Senators, Members of Congress, North Carolina General Assembly legislators, and their staff.

Charlotte: #WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Tillis Staff

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17 at 9:30am ET
  • Address: 9300 Harris Corners Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28269
  • Lead Organizations: Latin American Coalition
  • Lead Contact: Jose Hernandez-Paris, Jhparis@latinamericancoalition.org

Charlotte: #WeAreAllAmerica: Town Hall Mobilization 

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 11:00am ET
  • Address: Townhall with Reps. Butterfield and Price
  • Lead Organizations: Church World Service Durham
  • Lead Contact: Sijal Nasralla, snasralla@cwsglobal.org


Salem: #WeAreAllAmerica: Rep. Schrader Town Hall 

  • Date and Time: 2/22/17 at 6:00pm PT
  • Address: North Salem High School Gym 765 14th Street NE Salem, OR 97301
  • Lead Organizations: Causa Oregon, Oregon DACA Coalition
  • Lead Contact: Cristina Marquez, cristinam@causaoregon.org
  • Additional Details: We will attend Congressman Schrader’s town hall to express our concerns around immigration enforcement.


#WeAreAllAmerica: Interfaith Ecumenical Gathering

#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Sen. Casey

  • Date and Time: 2/23/17 at 10:00am ET
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: MPower Change
  • Lead Contact: Tarek E.


Various Cities: #WeAreAllAmerica: Drop in visits to Sen. Bob Corker 

#WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Refugees, Muslims, and Immigrants Legislative Visit with Sen. Alexander

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17 at 12:00pm ET
  • Address: TBA
  • Lead Organizations: MPower Change
  • Lead Contact: Bassam


#WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Sen. Cornyn

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17
  • Lead Organizations: IRC, Refugee Services of Texas, Seek the Peace, Northridge Presbyterian Church
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org

#WeAreAllAmerica: Legislative Visit with Rep. Hensarling

  • Date and Time: 2/24/17
  • Lead Organizations: RST, Mosaic, Temple Emanu-El, NorthPark Presbyterian
  • Lead Contact: Meredith Owen, mowen@cwsglobal.org


Richmond: #WeAreAllAmerica: In District Call to Sen. Kaine  


UCC Action Alert: #WeAreAllAmerica: Stand with Immigrants, Refugees & Muslims

Congressional Day of Action Toolkit

  • Build national narrative of pro-immigrant, pro-refugee, pro-Muslim solidarity
  • Coordinate action and key asks with immigrant rights, refugee, and faith communities
  • Ask Members of Congress to support immigration and refugee policies that affirm the dignity of all persons
  • Build relationships between local organizations and the public officials who make decisions that impact our communities

Any organization or coalition of organizations in support of the #WeAreAllAmerica goals. This can include: faith leaders, interfaith tables, refugee resettlement organizations and service providers, immigrant and refugee rights groups, cultural and community centers, and more.

  • Joining a delegation to meet with your Member of Congress
  • Hosting a rally, action, vigil or press conference in front of your congressperson's office
  • Go to a Town Hall Meeting hosted by a member of congress in your region and ask a question about support for immigrants, refugees and Muslims
  • Post on Social Media tagging Members of Congress and the White House at #WeAreAllAmerica
  • Call into your Senator, Representative or the White House to let them know why your support immigrants, refugees and the Muslim community
    • Call your Members of Congress to demand a stop to the raids: 866-957-2612
    • Call Senate and ask that they protect Sanctuary Cities: 866-834-8040
  • Write an Opinion-Editorial about why #WeAreAllAmerica

Please register your event (vigils, press conferences, or rallies) with the form below!

Establishing and nurturing relationships with your Members of Congress is crucial to enacting policies that protect and affirm the rights of immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and also to stopping proposals that would negatively impact these communities. Every legislator has at least one office in their home state. They work from these local offices during "congressional recess," making it convenient for your voice to be heard. Remember: Your elected officials work for you.

  1. Get your local team together.

    Talk with key leaders from the immigrant, refugee and faith communities to see who is interested in joining. Your team should commit to building an ongoing relationship with the office. Aim for 5-10 participants, though a larger group can be a powerful sign of support. Check with the scheduler to see how many people their office can accommodate and be sure to plan well, so that you are focused on your message and everyone knows their specific roles.
  2. Learn about who represents your community in Congress.

    Go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to find out which Members of Congress represent you and your surrounding community. Their websites and a “Google” search will show how they have voted before and what they have said about immigration reform, as well as biographical sketches, campaign statements, past occupations, religion, political and social memberships, areas of interest and positions on other issues, all of which can inform your approach to the meeting.
  3. Reach out to your local office scheduler to set up a time for a meeting.

    If they can’t accommodate a time, set up a drop by visit. Your member of Congress should be home on recess on February 22, so push for a face to face meeting. Make sure to tell them how many other faith leaders and community members would like to attend. If the member is unavailable, ask to meet with staff who work on immigration/refugee issues. You may have to send an email or fill out a form. Don’t be discouraged if you need to follow-up for a response.
  4. Make a plan for the meeting.

    Get your asks and talking points in order, assign roles of each member in the meeting, and prepare the main speakers (see key asks and talking points below in this toolkit)
    • Before your visit, meet with the other participants to assign roles (more below), including the facilitator, the personal story, specific points and the asks
    • Practice by role playing before the meeting so that everyone feels comfortable and knows what to do
    • Review your talking points and prepare your materials. Bring materials along to leave behind
    • You may also want to include other materials, such as media clips of local events and fact sheets showing the community's support for your asks
  5. Assign roles.

    We recommend the following roles, but you can adapt as needed.
    • Facilitator: Will kick off the meeting by introducing the group, explaining the purpose for the meeting, and providing space for each person to briefly introduce themselves. The facilitator will also jump in if the meeting goes off-track and redirect the conversation.
    • Personal Story: Key to every meeting. Someone should be present who has either been directly impacted by the broken immigration system, or has worked closely with individuals who have been separated from family members, detained or deported. Telling these stories will show how people/s lives are impacted and how your community would benefit from positive immigration legislation, as well as the negative consequences of proposed anti-immigrant bills.
    • Point People on Specific Issues: will be specific issues your group will want to discuss, which you should decide while planning the meeting. See the IIC website for most up to date resources and legislation for guidance on issues to emphasize.
    • The Ask: Critical part of the visit when you ask for the member of Congress to support positive reforms and defend against proposals that would adversely affect immigrant and refugee communities, listen carefully and ask for clarification if what they say is vague.

    For more information, including details on what to do in the meeting and afterwards, see Interfaith Immigration Toolkit or Refugee Council USA Toolkit.

    Please post your events (vigils, press conferences, or rallies) using the form below.

Even a small event, multiplied around the country, will send a powerful message to our the Trump administration and Congress that welcoming immigrants, refugees and the Muslim community is moral issue that is important to people of faith and conscience.

Steps to a successful press conference:
  • Be strategic in the choice of location: municipal government building, airport, Senator or Representative offices, etc.
  • Be in contact with organizations and coalitions about what the plan will be and decide on the best media hook (think about the message media outlets will respond too)
  • Identify the best speakers and well-known leaders that can address the importance of this issue
  • Draft the media advisory and get approval on messaging from core organizers of the event
  • Assign the media contact to be point on press outreach and greet the press, having them sign in at the press conference
  • Draft talking points to help each speaker stay on message
  • Try to keep each speaker at 2-3 minutes speaking time
  • Schedule the event at a time best for press, in this case, if you can do it 2 hours after announcement would be best, or the day after around 10 or 11 AM
  • Identify a moderator who can introduce the issue and the speakers
  • Send press advisory to the media at least a day in advance, follow up by sending it again the day of the event and by doing follow up calls to pitch the event
  • Ask speakers to arrive at least 15 minutes early and make sure everyone understands their role in the agenda of speakers
  • If you have faith leaders present, you might consider opening with a prayer, for these events
  • Bring signs that show your message clearly such as #WeAreAllAmerica #RefugeesWelcome
  • Take your own pictures and share on social media, create a hashtag for your event, and tag the appropriate social media handles and pages in your posts
  • Develop a media release that is similar to the advisory, but also includes quotes of leaders and speaks about what happened at the event, send press release to your press list as soon as you can after the event, with a link to where the photos and/or videos can be seen online
  • Make sure to amplify the content of your press release on your social media platforms, too, to help spread the word and reach more audiences
Steps to a successful prayer vigil:
  • Coordinate a public prayer vigil with faith leaders, refugee resettlement agencies, immigrants’ rights groups, refugee leaders, community members, and if possible local elected leaders
  • Identify the core leaders and speakers, make sure there are Muslim organizations and Imams who are invited to help plan and speak at the event
  • Consider inviting elected officials including Representatives, Senators, City Council Members or the Mayor
  • Be clear about your goals, what you want to accomplish, and how many people you hope to join the event
  • Identify the best location for the vigil which is generally somewhere central in a symbolic memorial, state capitol, park or city hall
  • Apply for any permits needed for the location; reserve or order any equipment you’ll need such as microphones, cameras, banners, candles, projectors; and make sure you can access electrical outlets.
  • Choose a time of day best for attendance and media--most news reports take place at 5-6 PM and 9-10 PM, so a few hours before those time blocks is best for press events
  • Promote the event through social media, public service announcement, flyers, websites, and congregation bulletins
  • Agree with coordinating committee on messaging and talking points
  • Bring signs that are consistent with your messaging and agreed on ahead of time
  • Assign specific talking points to each speaker and ensure they have time limit
  • Invite the media through issuing a media advisory and following up with a media release after the event
  • Invite participants at the vigil to be part of further action and advocacy by writing and calling the White House and their Representatives and Senators

The set up for the vigil should ensure that all faiths are respected and welcomed with awareness and consciousness. Drawing on the faith traditions and rituals can make vigils much more powerful, raising the creative and dramatic tension.

  • Ask Clergy attending to wear collars, stoles, robes and any other appropriate attire
  • Ensure you have Muslim faith presence through a prayer or having an Imam speak
  • Procession with candles to symbolic location
  • A Prayer Wall with handwritten prayers for immigrants and refugees
  • Lift up stories in sacred texts
  • Highlight passages in scripture and present to members of congress
  • Collect and deliver prayers to your senators and representatives
  • Make visuals – photos, drawings, art, etc. that show the consequences of the Trump administration's attack on immigrants, refugees and Muslims

Steps to planning a successful rally or action:
  • Identify target (for example, if your Member of Congress refuses to meet with you and/or is supporting anti-immigrant and refugee policies)
  • Identify action location (government building, public park or space
  • Scout location ahead of time
  • Secure permits, if needed
  • Book or reserve indoor space, if needed
  • Create staff structure for the event (potential roles to identify include: turnout lead, press point of contact, program emcee, trainers, photographer/videographer, comms and digital support, trainers, marshalls, police liaison, check-in or registration staff, timekeeper)
  • Draft and circulate flyer
  • Create Facebook event
  • Invite special guests (elected officials, community leaders, etc.)
  • Secure music or cultural components
  • Prepare script or talking points for program speakers
  • Pitch your rally to local media (draft press template included)
  • Create event map
  • Secure sound system and translation equipment as needed
  • Hold a sign-making party with staff, volunteers, community members before the event. Come up with creative chants during this time too!
  • Prepare the following materials for the day of the action, as needed: bullhorns, chant sheets, ponchos or hand warmers (depending on weather), vests for marshalls, signs, sign-in sheets, name tags, snacks, bottled water, first aid kit, trash bags for clean up
Steps to attending a town hall meeting and making your voice heard:
  • Find out when and where your Members of Congress are holding recess town halls
  • Organize a group to attend the town hall
  • Get there early
  • Sit near microphones if they are set up
  • Don’t all sit together
  • Go with questions written on index cards, so you have them on hand. If they ask for participants to write their questions ahead of time, do that
  • Ask questions that tell a story, including personal stories of impacted members of your community Refuse to take a non-answer for an answer: ask your question, then wait for the response. If you don’t get an actual answer to the question, say so. Don’t be afraid to repeat your question.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted.
  • If no chance is provided to ask questions, ask them anyway. Raise your hands if there is an appropriate place for a question, or even if there isn’t. If the Member doesn’t respond, stand up and ask your question anyway.

With contributions from Church World Service, FIRM, International Rescue Committee, Interfaith Immigration Coalition, NPNA

Oppose the Trump’s executive orders: The Refugee and Muslim Ban executive order, as well as the two executive orders on interior and border immigration enforcement, are un-American. We must continue to fight for them to be rescinded. Strengthening the middle class and our national security doesn’t start by blaming immigrants or banning refugees – these are hard working families that create jobs and contribute to America and seek the American Dream. Immigrants and refugees are part of what’s right with America, and hurting families to score political points is simply despicable. We also urge you to oppose any future executive orders that limit the refugee resettlement program and/or discriminate against people on the basis of religion.

Co-sponsor legislation that opposes these executive orders: H.R.724 - The Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) Act , H.R. 847 - The Build Bridges Not Walls Act , H.R.722 - The No Funds for Unconstitutional Executive Orders Act , H.R. 920 ,H.R. 921 ,S.274, S.240, S.248, and other legislation that would prevent these executive orders from being implemented.

Speak out in opposition to the executive orders and show your support for our communities: Make statements, hold press conferences alongside community members, and write Opinion Editorials stating firm opposition to these executive orders and affirming the value of welcoming communities. From business owners to librarians, from public safety officers to librarians, from national security leaders to public health officials, and in faith communities across this country, the American people stand against these Executive Orders. Please stand with the American people.

Use powers of the purse to block implementation of the executive orders: Congress has the power to stop the President from spending money on policies or programs that hurt our communities. Congress also has the power to authorize and appropriate money for the policies and programs, like the refugee resettlement program, that make our country stronger. We urge you to do everything within your position to invest in our communities and divest from racism and xenophobia. Since the current Continuing Resolution is funding the government through April 28, 2017, they will soon have to pass a new appropriations bill. We call on Congress to refuse to fund the border wall and escalation of immigration enforcement agents called for in Trump’s executive orders, and to robustly fund the refugee resettlement program.

Provide oversight and accountability of the executive orders. Hold or participate in public hearings about the executive orders – their intent, preparation, implementation, and impact. Ask questions of the administration about what evidence they based these disastrous decisions on, what problems they seeks to solve, and how they plan to meet their goals. Ask that the security review be quick and in good faith, and that admissions continue during the process.

Prioritize family unity: Families are a basic unit of strong communities. We urge you to affirm the importance of family-based immigration visas and ensure that children do not have to live in fear of a parent being taken from them at any moment.

Protect undocumented young people: Almost 800,000 undocumented youth and young adults who are already part of the fabric of our society have, since 2012, had the opportunity to work, pursue their dreams, and benefit their communities without fear of deportation. We will continue to work toward legislative solutions that will protect these and other undocumented members of our communities. We urge you to work to immediately pass the BRIDGE Act, bipartisan legislation that will protect these young people.

Uphold religious freedom: Protecting individuals regardless of their religion is not only an American value but is essential to justice. The U.S. has historically welcomed refugees and immigrants without regard for the religion they practice. We urge you to reject all proposals to ban, register, or otherwise discriminate against individuals based on their religion.

Ensure discretion in immigration enforcement: Many immigrants are long-time residents of U.S. communities. This includes individuals who have made mistakes in the past and have changed their lives for the better. Unjust immigration policies penalize non-citizens more severely than their U.S. citizen peers, making minor violations subject not only to prison sentences but also prolonged detention and deportation, sometimes years after the initial sentence has already been served. We urge you to oppose policies that result in members of our communities being detained and deported for old, minor, or nonviolent crimes for which they have already faced consequences and instead affirm the use of prosecutorial and judicial discretion.

Defend community trust policies and oppose raids: Community safety is best protected when all community members, regardless of immigration status, feel safe approaching law enforcement officials and do not fear that they, their family, or other community members will be detained or deported as a result of such interaction. We urge you to oppose policies that penalize communities and local police departments for prioritizing community safety over their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities. The raids are creating panic across communities. As family members are being deported and leaving behind children and spouses, immigrant communities are growing anxious and frightened. This will have long-term impacts: people will be too scared to seek help from law enforcement or report crime, children will be too fearful to go to school, and families traumatized by being separated from their loved ones.

Pursue the civil and human rights of border communities: The borderlands are a dynamic home to bi-national and indigenous communities. Current enforcement practices are devastating these communities, contributing to the deaths of thousands of migrants traveling in remote regions and violating the rights of U.S. citizens and migrants alike. We urge you to reject further militarization of the border, oppose border enforcement policies that violate human and civil rights and affirm policies that include strong oversight and accountability mechanisms, including community engagement.

Safeguard refugee resettlement and asylum: The U.S. refugee resettlement program is a life-saving public-private partnership with historical bipartisan support and has been lifted up as a standard of excellence for the rest of the world. All people fleeing to safety deserve access to protection and to be treated with dignity. Communities of faith are ready and willing to continue to welcome refugees and other vulnerable individuals into our homes, communities, and hearts. We urge you to support refugee resettlement and access to asylum – programs governed by core humanitarian principles and grounded in values of hospitality, compassion, and welcome.

Background Info by Refugee Council USA

Who Is a Refugee?

Over 65 million people are displaced globally, the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, including over 21 million refugees. Under international and U.S. law, a refugee is someone outside his or her own country with a well-founded fear of persecution in that country based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Available to less than 1% of the world’s refugees, resettlement provides safe haven in a third country when no other options for safety are available. Resettlement to the U.S. is available only for those who demonstrate the greatest and most immediate need for protection and takes place after eligible refugees undergo a rigorous security vetting and medical screening process.

The History of U.S. Assistance to Refugees

The United States has a long history of providing protection and assistance to persons facing persecution and fleeing violence. In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. led the humanitarian assistance and reconstruction effort to help displaced persons, including resettling to the U.S. hundreds of thousands of Europeans displaced from the war, including Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. expanded its commitment to protect vulnerable and displaced persons by funding programs such as those that helped victims of gender based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, provided educational opportunities for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, and helped hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees to return home. In recent years, the U.S. has resettled Darfuri refugees fleeing genocide and violence, refugees from Myanmar forced out of their country by ethnic and religious persecution, Iraqi and Afghan refugees who served the U.S. military and government, and many others.

Refugee Selection and Security Screening

The United States decides which refugees to resettle within our borders. The State Department oversees the admission of each refugee to the U.S. after they have been granted refugee status following individual interviews by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, have passed extensive interagency security background checks with multiple national security and intelligence agencies, and have passed health screenings. According to national security experts, refugees are the most thoroughly vetted, rigorously screened people to come to the United States. Security screenings involve the State Department, DHS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Defense, the National Counterterrorism Center, and multiple intelligence agencies. The entire process typically takes 18-24 months, and sometimes longer, before a refugee even steps foot on U.S. soil.

Serving Refugees Resettled in the United States

U.S. funding helps to ensure that the basic human needs of persons fleeing persecution are met while they are displaced, supports permanent solutions to their displacement, and funds resettlement processing to and services in the United States. The State Department provides life-sustaining assistance to refugees and displaced persons, many of whom are residing in countries of first asylum that neighbor their home countries, as well as processing of refugees to the United States. Complementarily, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides vital services to refugees and asylees, Cuban and Haitian Entrants, Iraqi Afghan recipients of Special Immigrant Visas, and other vulnerable populations like unaccompanied children, survivors of human trafficking, and torture survivors.

President Trump’s Executive Order Banning Refugees & Muslims

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order suspending refugee resettlement for four months and refugee resettlement from Syria indefinitely. It also included a ban on the entry of people from certain Muslim majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen - into the United States, reduced refugee admissions to 50,000 this year, and provides preference for religious minorities. A 120-day suspension actually means waiting much longer – even years – since during that time different parts of the security check process will expire and refugees will have to repeat their medical tests, fingerprinting, in-person interviews, and other time sensitive parts of the process that have very limited validity periods.

However, a Federal Appeals Court temporarily suspended parts of the executive order: the 120-day pause on resettlement, the travel ban on nationals from those 7 countries, the prohibition of Syrian refugees, and the preferencing of religions minorities. This situation may change at any time because the case will now go to the highest court in the US - The Supreme Court. However, the drastic reduction on refugee resettlement from 110,000 to 50,000 this year remains in place, turning our backs on more than 60,000 refugees seeking safety.

Messaging Guide by FIRM

Overarching Message: On February 22, the immigrants, refugees, Muslim and faith communities, and allies are joining together to take action during the congressional recess and visit the offices of members of Congress. Advocates and constituents are urging elected leaders to stand up against President Trump’s discriminatory and excessive immigration policies. From panic to injustice, the president’s immigration executive orders have had detrimental impacts on pillars of communities everywhere, including families, workers, law enforcement, and businesses.

Key Message Points:
  1. The primary ask: We demand that our members of Congress support programs of refugee resettlement for those fleeing violence and persecution; to stop the cruel and unnecessary deportations destroying immigrant families; and to end the discrimination against Muslims in immigration policies.
  2. President Trump has issued two executive orders on immigration that altogether criminalize immigrants, sets up a deportation force, builds unnecessary walls, and deliberately bans Muslim and other refugees. Elected leaders cannot remain silent against these immoral and thoughtless policies that have no place in America.
  3. Under Trump's immigration executive order, he has created a deportation force, setting the path forward to fulfill his mass deportation promise. The immigration raids taking place in cities across America are not business as usual. Trump’s administration is criminalizing and targeting immigrants for detention and deportation, and it’s up to our members of Congress to denounce these policies and champion commonsense reforms.
  4. This is not normal or right: Trump’s executive order vastly expanded the group of immigrants considered priorities for deportation, including those without criminal records. It’s a horrific overreach that has triggered massive raids that are separating families, destroying lives, and undermining the American dream for U.S. citizen children, lawful residents, and immigrants alike.
  5. The raids are creating panic across communities. As family members are being deported and leaving behind children and spouses, immigrant communities are growing anxious and frightened. This will have long-term impacts: people will be too scared to seek help from law enforcement or report crime, children will be too fearful to go to school, and families traumatized by being separated from their loved ones.
    • Back-up figures: The count is at more than 600 detained in across 11 states and growing with new reports by the hour.
    • In the US, there are an estimated 5.1 million children under the age of 18 living with an undocumented parent. 79% of those children are U.S. citizens.
  6. Trump’s immigration executive order undermines the work of law enforcement and the community’s safety.Law enforcement depends on the trust they have built with members of the community. Trump’s order now makes law enforcement de facto immigration agents, ramping up the president’s deportation force and breaking the community’s trust with the very people who serve to protect them.
  7. Raids and bans are immoral. Tearing apart families – separating mother and fathers, children from parents – and banning refugees on basis of their religion is un-American and wrong. Strengthening the middle class and our national security doesn’t start by blaming immigrants or banning refugees – these are hard working families that create jobs and contribute to America and seek the American Dream. Immigrants and refugees are part of what’s right with America, and hurting families to score political points is simply despicable.

Hashtags: #WeAreAllAmerica #NoBanNoWallNoRaids #RefugeesWelcome #Greateras1 #HeretoStay

Sample Tweets:
  • My America doesn’t turn its back on #refugees #immigrants #Muslims @POTUS @YourElectedOfficial #WeAreAllAmerica
  • Faith Leaders, Muslim, immigrants and refugees unite to say #WeAreAllAmerica @YourElectedOfficial @POTUS #NoBanNoWallNoRaids
  • RT if you agree: #WeAreAllAmerica @POTUS @YourElectedOfficial
  • @POTUS: An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. I stand in solidarity #WithRefugees #NoBanNoWallNoRaids--because we’re #GreaterAs1.
  • @POTUS: we will not be silent--and we will not turn our back on immigrants, refugees or Muslims. #WeAreAllAmerica #NoBanNoWallNoRaids #GreaterAs1
  • @YourElectedOfficial Stop @POTUS from betraying longstanding US tradition of welcome for those in need. #WeAreAllamerica #NoBanNoWallNoRaids
Sample Facebook posts:
  • Our office [OR ADD ORGANIZATION NAME] is letting [YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS] know we stand with refugees, immigrants and Muslism. LIKE or SHARE if you do, too, and post your #WeAreAllAmerica #NoBanNoWallNoRaids #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1
  • As people of faith, we must tell our neighbors and leaders that, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric do not reflect our shared values of peace, welcome and compassion. Tell [YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to stop President Trump from betraying those values and our longstanding tradition of welcome. LIKE and SHARE if you continue to stand in solidarity with refugees, immigrants and Muslims #WeAreAllAmerica #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1 #NoBanNoWallNoRaids
  • As people of faith, we must tell our neighbors and leaders that, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric do not reflect our shared values of peace, welcome and compassion. Tell [YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to stop President Trump from betraying those values and our longstanding tradition of welcome. LIKE and SHARE if you continue to stand in solidarity with refugees, immigrants and Muslims #WeAreAllAmerica #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1 #NoBanNoWallNoRaids

View and print a document version of the Toolkit HERE.

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