Immigration Justice and Reform

Immigration Task Force Summary of November 30th, 2022 meeting

The Immigration Task Force met on November 30, 2022 at the home of Anne and Jeff Smith.
Present: Jeff and Anne Smith, Julie and Gary Lustic, Steve Sedam, Sharon Shoemaker, Nonie Stack, Chris Henry
Excused: Virginia Weiss, Charity Stock, Cynthia Lehman, Quentin Smith

A summary of the discussion is provided below:
The Task Force welcomed Chris Henry, who has expressed interest in the work of The Immigration Task Force. The team provided her with an overview of recent Task Force activities, goals of the group.

Emmanuel decided that he did not care for the internship at Salani’s Garage, so is no longer working there. He has some of his own tools and is able to do some work on his own such as oil changes. Brian Hoffman, his attorney, is optimistic that Emmanuel may be able to get his work permit soon.

Educational Forum
Links to the two sessions of the forum will be forwarded for addition to the church website as soon as they are available. Steve indicated he would also forward the link to the information regarding the Colonias for placement on the website. Members of the team expressed disappointment regarding the quality of the sound for the first forum and acknowledged that the second session would have been better if one of the scheduled presenters had not had to cancel. On a positive note there was time for plenty of questions during the second session and those in attendance appeared to be engaged in the conversation. More importantly, despite reserving the time through the church earlier, there were communication difficulties resulting in multiple programs sponsored by the church who met at the same time. This resulted in a lower than desired attendance. The group decided that future programming would not be beneficial with the exception of an opportunity for the group to report on their experiences of the trip to the border. It was suggested we might be able to present our report as part of Lenten activities.

Mission Trip to South Border
Jeff presented a spreadsheet covering anticipated costs. Nonie spoke with the director of the Basilica Hotel, where we will be staying. He provided room options and said that as the church is tax exempt, daily room charges would not be taxable. Each room has either a double bed, 2 or 3 twin beds, with each room having its own bathroom. Based upon estimates that include air fare with checked baggage, hotel charges, the rental of 2 eight-passenger vans, gas for the vans and food costs, the estimate per person ranges from $1,195.39 to $1,512.35 per person. Charges were based upon an arrival date of 2/12/23 and return on 2/18/23. Originally the arrival date had been planned as 2/13/23 but given the significant scheduling proposed by Caly Hernandez, it may be better to arrive on 2/12/23 (Sunday) and then be ready to go the next day. Jeff left a voice message for Caly to clarify a preferred arrival date. Air fare is based off of current charges for an Economy flight on American Airlines with departure of 7 AM on 2/12/23. The flight has one stop in Dallas. We will need to clarify with the airlines whether they will set aside a certain number of seats for our group, or how it will need to be handled.

Based upon a response to Sharon’s e-mail, there are 11 to 12 people who have
expressed interest in going on the trip. This would leave 3 to 4 available spots for
anyone else who is interested in going, as the maximum number who can attend is 15. There is money available through Justice and Mission, approximately $3500.00. The group discussed offering scholarships to those who might want to go but need financial assistance, but also allow for us to donate money to the various agencies working on the border who we will be visiting. In the past when scholarships were offered, funds ended up not being used for this purpose. Another possibility is to use a portion of the funds to cover the bus rental, which would reduce the average cost per person by approximately $200.00.

Jeff suggested that we discuss appropriate donations with Caly. Caly had mentioned
the possibility of the team bringing t-shirts to be distributed to those arriving at the
border and we will clarify what she is interested in us providing.

The Task Force decided to sponsor an informational meeting on Sunday Dec. 11, 2022, after church in South Hall with a start time of 12:15 PM. Anne Smith will reserve the room and have an e-mail sent out to the congregation notifying them of the meeting. The next meeting of the ITF will be 6 PM on Wed. 12/14/22 at the church with the goal of finalizing plans for the trip.