Several members of the ad-hoc immigration committee attended a meeting to discuss immigration issues held at the Fourth Street Flagstaff Library on April 27th. The meeting was hosted by Keep Flagstaff Together (KFT). Sandra Lubarsky from KFT wrote an excellent summary of the event which I am posting below:
"We (KFT) were very pleased to have sponsored a presentation last Saturday by pastor Magdalena Schwartz who has been organizing shelter, food, and transportation for immigrants being released in the Valley by ICE.
"In a moving and inspirational presentation, Magdalena, her sister Elizabeth Cruz and brother-in-law, Jose Cruz—all three pastors of small evangelical, Hispanic churches—detailed how they have been able to accomplish their amazing work. Since October, 2018, they reported that they have helped 70,000 people to connect with their U.S. relatives while they await their immigration hearings. In brief, nearly every day ICE calls to tell them how many people they are going to release. By their records, 1,000-1,200 people are brought to the churches each week. If the churches cannot help them, ICE brings people to the Greyhound station which will not allow them inside unless they have a ticket."
Sandra concludes her notes from the meeting by asking: “What can we do to help?” She gives the addresses of where we can send financial support. In addition, most interesting to us in Flagstaff, Sandra wants KFT to explore the possibility of assisting the asylum seekers here. As we have both Greyhound and Amtrak stations in Flagstaff ICE could be willing to bring families up here. We would need to arrange to take folks into our homes for 1 to 3 nights and help them to arrange travel to their sponsor’s homes, who live all over the US. She asks that those interested in this opportunity for service contact her.
The committee feels that we should follow up on this suggestion to see if it is something appropriate for us to be part of. If it is, we would ask for a called meeting to bring the topic to members and attendees of FMM.
From Gillian Thomas, Flagstaff Meeting, 5/13/2019