As you may know, First Parish Watertown is part of a ten-member coalition of congregations committed to supporting and protecting a woman in sanctuary at First Parish Bedford. It’s now been three years since Maria took refuge from deportation in Bedford. Over the last year, Maria has become active in a national Sanctuary Collective that advocates for immediate protection and relief for the over 40 undocumented immigrants living in sanctuary in churches throughout the United States. As a result of the Collective’s work, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) has agreed to send a “Sign-On” letter to all of his 435 colleagues in the House of Representatives, requesting their signatures on a letter that will be delivered to President-elect Biden in the first week of his presidency. To ensure the success of Representative Castro’s effort, the collective asks that anyone supportive of immigrants in sanctuary contact their US representative and request that they sign the letter.  For most of us, that is Katherine Clark (617-354-0292), although for those living further away, it could be someone else. This is a national effort, so calls to representatives in other states are just as important.

Here are some suggested “talking points” for your call:

  • Representative Joaquin Castro is asking for his Congressional colleagues to co-sign a letter to be presented to President Biden on January 25th. It’s called “Letter Urging President Biden to Provide Relief to Immigrants in Sanctuary Churches” and  (your Congressional Delegate) should have received it recently. The letter requests immediate protection and relief for Maria and the 40 others living in sanctuary by granting a stay on deportation so that they may reunite with their families and pursue their legal cases in freedom.
  • Stress that you are a constituent and a member of a Sanctuary Coalition of Ten Faith Congregations actively supporting Maria. Explain why you/your congregation got involved in the coalition, and your actions (accompaniment shifts at church, tutoring, financial contribution, etc.).
  • Maria’s info: In sanctuary at First Parish Bedford UU for 3 years; wants to stay in the USA with three sons who are US citizens; active pending legal case.
  • Currently, there are 4 individuals in sanctuary in churches in MA. The hope is that the entire MA Congressional Delegation will sign.

It’s critical that you make your calls as soon as possible, since the last date for representatives to sign Rep. Castro’s letter is January 25. For a copy of Rep. Castro’s letter requesting signatures and the letter that is to be sent to President-elect Biden, please contact Jeri Bayer, jwbayer@comcast.net.