Immigration and Sanctuary Group
Immigration and Sanctuary Group (ISG)
The fundamental assurances of due process and equal protection embodied in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status. Our UU principles affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and our commitment to justice extends across borders and to all people.
In response to administration policies targeting and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminating against marginalized communities, Follen Church in 2017 joined a sanctuary movement of faith and immigrant communities to protect and stand with immigrants facing unjust deportation. Specifically, we worked with a coalition of over 400 volunteers from many local faith communities to support First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Bedford, which welcomed a woman from Central America into sanctuary. She was a mother and grandmother who faced immediate deportation to a country where her life would be in imminent danger. Following the election of President Biden, she left sanctuary and is living with her family and pursuing her case in court.
In 2022, the Follen congregation voted to offer support and temporary housing to an Afghan evacuee family in cooperation with a resettlement agency, the International Institute of New England. The family of six arrived in June and and the congregation has been involved in setting up the household; enrolling the children in school; helping with access to healthcare and government benefits; beginning the search for employment; and acclimating them to Lexington and the wider community.
In addition, the ISG will seek additional opportunities to aid our immigrant neighbors facing legal and financial challenges by joining with other organizations such as the Boston Immigrant Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN). It will also act as a conduit for information regarding passage of state legislation such as the Safe Communities Act in Massachusetts as well as federal legislation on immigration. The ISG also seeks programming opportunities to offer insight about the immigration experience to the Follen community.