Immigrant and Refugee Support Group

Immigrant and Refugee Support Group

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35


Whom do we serve?

  • New Hampshire immigrants and refugees in crisis
  • New Hampshire residents who want to welcome and open doors for immigrants and refugees
  • Anyone seeking a better understanding of immigrant and refugee issues


Immigrant and refugee concerns

  • Legal issues
  • Lack of information about U.S. laws
  • Vulnerability to detention or deportation
  • Racial/ethnic profiling or discrimination
  • Accessing support during detention
  • Isolation from family and friends during detention
  • Separation trauma for parents and children
  • Accessing financial support to cover any requiredbond to achieve freedom from detention
  • Loss of family income following deportation
  • Anti-immigrant legislation


What we do?

  • Support immigrants and refugees in our community
  • Provide opportunities for immigrant stories
  • Educate congregations and others
  • Advocate for legislation supporting immigrants
  • Seek short-term and long-term host homes for asylum-seekers released from detention
  • Connect immigrants with legal assistance
  • Provide volunteer support services
  • Provide detention and post detention support and visitation
  • Raise funds to bond eligible immigrants out of detention


How can you help?

  • Welcome immigrants and refugees in your community
  • Learn from immigrant neighbors and correct misinformation about them
  • Advocate for immigrant-friendly legislation
  • Gain an understanding of the many causes of migration
  • Volunteer with an immigrant support group
  • Donate to the Immigrant & Refugee Support Group’s Immigrant Bond and Support Fund


Your tax-deductible gift of any size will make a difference!

Donate Online           Look for “Immigrant Bond and Support Fund”

Mail a donation to the Conference office: You can also make checks payable to NHCUCC and write IRSG (Immigrant & Refugee Support Group) Immigrant Bond and Support in the memo line. Contributions may be mailed to NHCUCC, 140 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke, NH 03275.


Welcome the Stranger

June 30, 2020:  On June 23, 2020, 60 cardboard “people” stood in front of the State House in Concord. The display was sponsored by Never Again Action NH and represented the 60 immigrants detained at the Strafford County jail. Two detained immigrants infected with COVID-19 had been transferred into the facility by ICE.
 
Depopulating the jail to protect staff and residents from the virus became a priority for the Immigrant and Refugee Support Group (IRSG) of the NH Conference United Church of Christ. The IRSG has been working to provide release-eligible immigrants transportation from the release spot in Burlington, MA to a prearranged quarantine living accommodation in NH. Recent releases have been at ICE discretion, on bond, or as a result of the ACLU class action lawsuit. The IRSG's role is crucial. Nobody is released until the prearranged transportation, quarantining and longer term housing is reported to ICE.
 
Some immigrants may also need longer term hosting and/or monthly benevolent assistance while they await work authorization. The IRSG provides the needed help and services, thanks to your support. Folks interested in post quarantine hosting should contact Nancy Pierpont (Pape) at nancy.j.pape@gmail.com.

June 2020: The Strafford County Jail has had to stop all visits during the COVID-19 crisis. This means that our immigrant friends and neighbors are more alone than ever. They do have the option to make video calls - but only if they have enough money in their commissary accounts to cover the costs. You can help by making a donation online or sending contributions to the Conference office.  At this time, these donations can assist with putting  money directly into people's commissary accounts. (see details above for tax deductible gifts).

March 2020: The NHCUCC Immigrant and Refugee Support Group (IRSG) has recovered its first bail bond for a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo who spoke at the Conference Annual Meeting. He was awarded asylum and refugee status that includes a path to citizenship. He is getting his work authorization now that he has his driver’s license and a car. At his hearing, tears of joy welcomed the judge’s words, “Welcome to the United States of America.”  Proceedings can now start to reunite him with his family.