March 15, 2017
An Announcement from The Immigration Alliance, Inc.
The Board of Directors of The Immigration Alliance, Inc., takes great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Rev. Blaine Derck, and Ordained Minister in the Wesleyan Church, as its new Executive Director. Blaine’s experiences as a Pastor throughout the United States have seen him in multiple roles from staff positions to solo pastorate. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University and serves on his District’s Board of Ministerial Development for the Mountain-Plains District of The Wesleyan Church. Married for 39 years, father of two adult children who are actively involved in the local churches they attend.
He served as the associate pastor for three years, responsible for immigration ministries at Mosaic Church of Aurora, CO which is a multi-ethnic congregation in a neighborhood that has over 109 different languages spoken with a 2 miles of the church. He was an ad-hoc member of The Wesleyan Church’s Immigration Connections Committee, seeking to provide immigration assistance to local churches offering ministry to immigrants in their communities
Blaine is currently serving as the Executive Director of Oasis Ministries of Colorado Springs, CO. Oasis is a start-up non-profit ministry who in partnership with Immigrant Hope is seeking to establish a low-cost immigration legal services center at a local church. Founded in 2015 Oasis is pursuing their accreditation hoping to provide services in the fall of 2017.
After completing the 40-Hour Immigrant Pathways Institute and pursuing the additional hours of shadowing needed to seek BIA accreditation, Blaine has an acute awareness of the investment of time and energy needed to open an accredited center. He and the local team in Colorado Springs know firsthand the great need the community is experiencing and the backlog many immigrants are facing.
In 2014 Blaine became a part of the Immigrant Pathways Institute team working to aid in facilitating the training needs of individuals and organizations seeking to achieve their accreditation. Serving as a non-legal presenter, Blaine is mindful of the 40-hour process that attendees navigate to get the information needed to make a difference in their communities.
Blaines’ desire is to use his God given talents of relational capacity, networking skills, and a thirst for people development to the task of seeing The Immigration Alliance advance its mission of helping churches and non-profits accomplish the task of aiding the immigrant community with quality low-cost legal services.
The Immigration Alliance is a national, collaborative effort that equips churches across the country to provide critical immigration legal services to under-resourced immigrants. We do this through cultivating relationships among immigrants and churches in order that the Church might become an epicenter of multi-national welcome and community. Currently 17 church-based organizations, 30,000 churches and 33 sites strong. Part and parcel to the Mission and Vision of The Immigration Alliance, is ‘Welcoming the Stranger among us’ with Christian Love and Charity.
December 1, 2016
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach the celebration of the coming of our Lord, I have reflected on the varied and many things occurring in the world at this time. Most especially, as we continually approach uncertain times, what should be our response? How should we approach change? For myself, it gives me great comfort to remember Who is actually in control. As I continue to pray for our wonderful Immigration Alliance, it has become apparent, at this crucial time in our world, we need to be reminded as to Who is really in charge.
It gives me, and I hope you, great peace to be reminded that our God, The Lion of Judah, the Lamb that was Crucified for you and I, is in control at all times.
‘Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.’ Psalm 146:3
‘ ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and onearth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “…’ Matthew 28:19
‘ “Whose likeness is this,” He asked, “and whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they answered. So Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” And when they heard this, they were amazed.’ Matthew 28:21
‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.’ Romans 13:1
There are a lot of emotions stemming from the recent elections. It is easy to get caught up on either side. I will tell you one thing: Before the election, we had a mission, we had a vision, values and a purpose. After the election, we have a mission, we have a vision, values and we have a purpose.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ Proverbs 3:5-6
The Immigration Alliance envisions the Spirit of God equipping every church to intentionally embrace and holistically empower every immigrant. We seek to join the Spirit led movement that nurtures partnerships among immigrants and churches by equipping and enriching one another in the journey of grace.
As we continue in our Mission and Vision, I have found that these following prayer reminders have helped me to continue to focus on what is important in our world:
Thank you for your faithfulness and your commitment to The Immigration Alliance, its Mission, Vision and Purpose. I urge us all to continue to be informed, to continue our work as usual, nothing has changed. The laws which we operate under have not been modified or reversed. Service to our clients and friends is most important, not speculation or assumptions!!
Lastly, but if laws do change, remember our mission does not. It continues to follow from our commitment to Our Lord and His reminder to love our neighbor. We will always work with the legal structure which exists at any given time to express our mission as best we are able.
God Bless you and keep you in the coming days, do not be discouraged, commit all you efforts to the Lord!!
In the spirit of faithfulness and encouragement, your servant,
Leo Gus Haddad
L Gus Haddad, Chair
January 27, 2016
A Call to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees
The Immigration Alliance is a national, collaborative effort that equips churches across the country to provide critical immigration legal services to under-resourced immigrants. We do this through cultivating relationships among immigrants and churches in order that the Church might become an epicenter of multi-national welcome and community. Currently 17 church-based organizations, 30,000 churches and 33 sites strong.(www.TheImmigrationAlliance.org) Part and parcel to the Mission and Vision of The Immigration Alliance, is ‘Welcoming the Stranger among us’ with Christian Love and Charity.
We deeply mourn with those in who are reeling from violent attacks in recent weeks, and are pained to live in such a broken world. A natural response to such violence and brokenness is fear. Matthew 6 calls us to not live out of fear, but rather to “seek first the kingdom of God.” It is in times of crisis that our calling to kingdom compassion is most tested, and we are most tempted to close our arms to the stranger, but it is in these times that it is most needed.
The Immigration Alliance firmly accepts and reaffirms these 5 biblical truths:
1) Our God reigns sovereign over all things;
2) God oversees the movement of all people;
3) God generally establishes governments for the protection of all people;
4) God specifically commands his church to provide for all people;
5) Our God steers shelters, services and showers immigrants and refugees with his Grace and Truth.
The overwhelming majority of immigrants and refugees arriving in the US come because they have been confirmed to be fleeing from violence and persecution. They arrive in the US after completing a vetting process that takes 18-24 months, including interviews and background checks conducted by the FBI, Homeland Security, and other counter-terrorism organizations.
Many of our governors, whose job it is to provide safety to the citizens of their states, do not have complete confidence in the federal government’s vetting process, nor is it clear who would provide funding for the increased burden that is likely to be placed upon those state’s social services. We urge the federal government to work transparently with our state officials so that they can confidently work together for the good of our local communities. Welcoming Christian and Muslim Syrian immigrants and refugees is one of the most powerful weapons we have against extremism. It is a way of saying that we will not give way to fear or to stereotyping whole people groups based on the actions of some.
We urge our leaders to follow through on our commitment to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees and even urge that resources be allocated so that this number can be responsibly increased in the future. Most importantly, we urge each of our churches to reach out to those immigrants and refugees who have been resettled in our local communities. Let us continue to remember our Gospel mandate to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” (Romans 15:7).
L Gus Haddad
Dr. Alejandro Mandes
February 12, 2015
To The Immigration Alliance family,
The last few months have been full of exciting developments for The Immigration Alliance: we launched publicly in late October; saw the President take Executive Action on immigration a month later; and continue to have new members join our Alliance to help meet the critical need for immigration legal services.
This month also marks a leadership transition for The Immigration Alliance. Our inaugural Executive Director, Damon Schroeder, will be returning to his post at World Relief as we welcome Rev. Dr. Alejandro (Alex) Mandes to the team as our new Executive Director.
Damon was loaned to us from World Relief to bring the vision of a network of churches providing legal services to immigrants to reality – and, for the past year and a half, he has done exactly that. Damon’s leadership and wisdom have helped to shape The Immigration Alliance. We are deeply grateful for the work Damon has done to advance The Immigration Alliance and are thankful that he will continue to serve as an advisor as we move into the future.
And, as sad as we are to say goodbye to Damon, we are equally excited to welcome Alex into our family. Growing up along the Texas-Mexico border, Alex has seen the complexities of immigration firsthand. He serves as the Executive Director of Immigrant Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping churches reach immigrants in their neighborhood, and as the Director of Hispanic Ministries for the Evangelical Free Church of America. Alex has advanced degrees in Social Work from the University of Texas and Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Above all, he’s a uniter for the common cause of Jesus Christ. Alex begins as The Immigration Alliance’s Executive Director next week. Damon will be assisting Alex as an advisor to ensure a seamless transition.
The Immigration Alliance has great things in store for 2015 – including the development of a new Ambassador Churches campaign to equip local churches to serve as legal information hubs for immigrants. You will be hearing more from Alex about this campaign and other exciting developments in the near future.
Please join me in welcoming Alex to The Immigration Alliance and thanking Damon for his dedicated service. The task before us is immense, and I know I speak for all of the Board of Directors in saying we know with confidence that God is up to something in this Alliance. We cannot wait to see what He has in store for us 2015 and beyond.
Noel Castellanos, Chair
The Immigration Alliance Board of Directors
February 5, 2015
The Immigration Alliance joins with NaLEC to launch program to provide legal information to immigrants
Campaign to develop church-based legal information centers kicks off at upcoming NaLEC immigration rallies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — February 5, 2015: The Immigration Alliance today announced a new national campaign in partnership with the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) to recruit and resource churches to serve as legal information centers for immigrants. This Ambassador Churches program is part of The Immigration Alliance’s mission to equip local churches across the country to provide immigration legal services to under-resourced immigrants.
There has never been a greater need for reliable immigration legal information and services following the President’s Executive Order. It is estimated that approximately five million non-citizen immigrants may be eligible to apply for benefits from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services following the President’s action.
In response, The Immigration Alliance and NaLEC are utilizing their expansive network to launch church-based legal information centers. Participating churches will work with local partners to provide access to information about the new immigration requirements and how to avoid fraud. In addition, pastors and volunteers will be trained to serve as immigration advocates in their communities.
“With misinformation circulating about immigration reform, immigrants are looking for a trustworthy place to turn for reliable information,” The Immigration Alliance Board Member and NaLEC President Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero said. “Evangelical churches have a long history of serving immigrants and have become a trusted source. Our new Ambassador Churches program will equip churches to help immigrants navigate the new immigration rules and processes.”
The campaign will launch in conjunction with a series of rallies on immigration reform executive action hosted by NaLEC and featuring Congressman Luis Gutierrez in some of the following cities:
The rally tour will include public events, workshops and other activities to educate immigrants and the broader community about the President’s Executive Order on Immigration. The goal is to prepare families to apply for relief from deportation when applications become available later this year.
“The Immigration Alliance is equipping churches – large and small, urban and rural – to care for immigrants by providing reliable information and authorized legal services.” The Immigration Alliance incoming Executive Director Dr. Alejandro Mandes said. “For us this is the tangible part of the great commandment of showing the love of Christ to a neighbor in need.”
Churches who are interested in learning more about the campaign can also participate in upcoming national live-streaming trainings. The Immigration Alliance will be providing tools such as bi-lingual training videos, marketing materials and social media kits to participating Ambassador Churches. Additional campaign events and resources will be added to our website at www.theimmigrationalliance.org/events.
In addition to the new Ambassador Churches campaign, The Immigration Alliance is aiming to serve one million immigrants through its church-based legal service sites by 2020. These sites provide services to immigrants including: low-cost legal counsel on immigration-related matters; support determining eligibility for immigration benefits; and assistance in preparing applications for immigration legal status.
About The Immigration Alliance
Now a coalition of 17 evangelical church-based organizations, representing more than 30,000 churches, The Immigration Alliance was formed as part of the evangelical Christian community’s longstanding commitment to serving immigrants holistically, a philosophy that has been underway for more than 28 years. With 33 church-based immigrant legal services sites already in operation and many more in the pipeline, The Immigration Alliance dreams of serving 1,000,000 immigrants through as many as 1,000 church-based immigrant legal sites by 2020. This will only be possible by a movement of God working through many denominations and organizations.
For more information about The Immigration Alliance, visit www.theimmigrationalliance.org.
November 21, 2014
November 20, 2014: Following President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, The Immigration Alliance today announced it is expanding mobilization of evangelical Christian churches across the country to support the increased need for high-quality, low-cost immigrant legal services, with a goal of serving one million immigrants through its sites by 2020.
Today’s executive action has exponentially increased the need for trustworthy, authorized legal services to foreign-born, non-citizens living in the United States. It is estimated that, based on today’s executive action, approximately five million non-citizen immigrants may be eligible to apply for benefits (such as Employment Authorization) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
October 21, 2014
The Immigration Alliance today announced the launch of a national effort that equips local churches across the country to provide immigration legal services to under-resourced immigrants.
With more than 22 million foreign-born, non-citizens in the United States – and with only 12,000 private immigration attorneys and 2,800 non-profit immigration attorneys and accredited staff in the United States – the need for trustworthy, authorized legal services has never been greater.
Currently a coalition of 15 evangelical church-based denominations that represent more than 28,500 churches, The Immigration Alliance is committed to dramatically multiplying the number of sites across the country providing low cost, high quality immigrant legal services over the next three years.
October 28, 2016
Alliance Life, a magazine published by The Christian and Missionary Alliance (CAMA), published this article that traces the history of The Christian and Ministry Alliance commitment to loving and serving immigrant and refugees. Rev. Roman explains that CAMA chooses to care for immigrants and refugees because it is something that Jesus chose to do during his time on Earth. Furthermore, serving immigrants and refugees is a response to God’s plan to draw the lost to him. “God orchestrates massive movements of people around the world so that they may find Him (Acts 17:24–28).”
Full story available at: http://www.cmalliance.org/alife/immigrants-and-refugees-why-do-we-care/
January 21, 2016
The Christian and Ministry Alliance (The Alliance) released a statement about their commitment to care for and minister to refugees. In light of the growing humanitarian crisis The Alliance has shown this commitment as a signatory to Christian Declaration on Caring for Refugees: An Evangelical Response. “By supporting the declaration, The Alliance continues its long-held commitment to care for immigrants. As a charter member of The Immigration Alliance, Church Ministries is facilitating the establishment of several immigrant legal assistance centers.”
Full story available at: http://www.cmalliance.org/news/2016/01/21/immigration-refugees-and-a-christian-response/
October 12, 2015
Larry Roberts, The Immigration Alliance (TIA) board member and Chief Operating Officer of Free Methodist Church USA, writes about his denomination’s decision to form TIA along with several other denominations. Roberts writes. “So I’ve concluded that, in discussing immigration, we need to separate the policy from the people.”
Full story available at: http://fmcusa.org/lightandlifemag/why-join-the-immigration-alliance/
April 2, 2015
The Immigration Alliance’s Executive Director, Alex Mandes, writes a guest blog post for The Exchange, a blog by Ed Stetzer. “The Immigration Alliance is the sister to the Evangelical Table. While we see and appreciate advocacy for us is must be secondary to equipping the church to welcome, holistically serve via legal services, make disciples of immigrants and empower immigrants to be the new American church of the future.”
November 16, 2014
Work of The Immigration Alliance is featured on NBCNews.com in the following article. “While Congressional leaders debate over the best way to tackle immigration reform, community groups, churches, some lawmakers and even schools have been readying to help immigrants take advantage of whatever relief comes.”
November 3, 2014
The Leadership Journal writes about two churches who recognized the need of their community to receive legal services and took the necessary steps towards being able to meet such a need.
Full story available at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/november/clear-and-present-mission.html
October 27, 2014
The Leadership Journal features and article on the Church of the Nazarene in Iowa City and how their commitment towards serving immigrants in their community revitalized the church. The Church of the Nazarene is a founding member of The Immigration Alliance.
October 24, 2014
Interview available at: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/spanish/2014/10/24/dusa-salguero.cnn.html
October 23, 2014
Think Progress showcases work of The Immigration Alliance in the following article. “The initiative [The Immigration Alliance] has sprung up in churches located in immigrant-heavy “hot spots” like Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and New York, New York. The initiative has also cropped up in Iowa and Indiana, where it’s more difficult for immigrants too afraid to talk with lawyers or are unable to find lawyers who speak their languages. Churches also provide the extra incentive of being a “trusted presence in immigrant communities” where immigrants believe they will find “honest and trustworthy” legal service, the press release stated.”
Full story available at: http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2014/10/23/3582554/churches-provide-legal-services-immigrants/
October 23, 2014
In this article, The Washington Post highlights work of The Immigration Alliance. “The Immigration Alliance, a network of 15 evangelical denominations and ministries, launched a plan to reduce the gap between the 22 million immigrant noncitizens and the 12,000 private immigration lawyers in the country.”
Full story available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/evangelicals-boost-clinics-to-help-immigrants-navigate-legal-headaches/2014/10/23/425f4914-5ad9-11e4-9d6c-756a229d8b18_story.html