Open Sanctuary: What Youth Leaders and Young People Can do for Immigrant Families

People around the diocese are thinking about how to make their parishes into safe sanctuaries, especially for those families and individuals who are being targeted by homeland security. This list of resources for youth leaders and youth groups can help you think about what your parish can do to help this effort:

1.) A “Know Your Rights” handout for young people and families, in English and Spanish.

This is for undocumented people and their allies who are worried about an Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) raid on a home or workplace. This guide assists the creation of an immigration raid family plan for your family or for another family in your congregation or community.

2.) A guide for educators and school support staff published by the American Federation of Teachers

This is a longer document that includes tools and resources to help protect and prepare youth and families. It tells you how to defend the rights of undocumented students. Church members may know about the 2011 policy memo that says ICE agents should refrain from conducting enforcement activities in churches. This is the basis of the so called, "sanctuary movement." You should know that schools, hospitals, and public demonstrations are also protected spaces according to this memo.

3.) A sample school board resolution defending access to education for every child.

This is for parishes who are considering lobbying their local school boards and committees to establish their schools as safe zones.

4. Ten myths about immigration.  

Misperceptions about immigration and immigrants are common. Here are a few of the most frequently spread misconceptions, along with information to help your students separate fact from fiction.

5.) Supporting young people from immigrant families.

In addition to a catalog of resources and information, the Teaching Tolerance website includes a host of lesson plans for a range of ages on immigration, changing demographics, and social justice. Easily adapted for a Sunday School or youth group event or series.