Asylum Seeker Hosting Program
We are delighted to let you know that you – wonderful, loving folk that you are – have voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with our proposed Asylum-Seeker Hosting Program.
In response to the Asylum-Seeker Hosting Program survey sent out on September 1 and the questionnaire available after services during July and August, we received 98 unique responses. This is nearly double the number we require for a ‘quorum’ at our annual meetings. Of the 98 responses, 94 said they support the program going forward. This is a 96% approval.
Now that we know you approve, we will be contacting the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) to let them know we are ready to take an asylum-seeker. And we are really ready! We have a legal sponsor vetted and several possible “home hosts” vetted as well. We have health care and legal services arranged, alliances with other faith communities begun, a budget developed, a team set up for home and transportation support, and over $10,000 pledged to help support a guest asylum-seeker. And there is still time and lots of welcome for anyone else who might like to help in any way.
We don’t know how quickly the UUSC might have a person or family for us, but we will share that information with you as it comes to us. We will be having a kick-off Italian Dinner & fundraiser on November 9th to celebrate the launch of this exciting justice project.
Thank you again good folks. It is a blessing to live in community with all of you.
About the Project
We have all heard and been deeply saddened by the plight of the people at our southern border seeking asylum – a safe refuge from violence in their home country. To assist a family as they make their way through the asylum seeking process, we will bring the family to Boise and provide them with both financial and community support. Depending on the size of the family, we will need between $9,500 and $25,000 in the first year.
Our goal in this endeavor will be to support this family on their path to independence, self-sufficiency, and a successful application for asylum. We have an opportunity to really do something and perhaps give life and safety and opportunity where none existed before.
When we adopted our Strategic Plan in the spring of 2018, one of the goals in the Justice Making section included a “BUUF-led signature justice initiative.” This projects fits that goal well. Should we proceed fully, we will be the first (that we know of) in the Treasure Valley to sponsor and host an asylum seeker, which we hope will inspire others to consider doing the same. We have plans to document our process and help craft a how-to manual offering connection and support to other congregations or organizations.
Over the past several months, members and friends of BUUF have pledged over $7,000, and a grant has been written to obtain more funding. Housing has been offered and a team is ready to set up a home for the family. We have arranged health care and legal representation. We have set up teams for interpretive services, employment assistance, and transportation. We have accomplished much and this project will need the energy and kindness of our entire community.
This opportunity will also require bravery from us. It is very possible that no matter what we or the asylum seekers do, after years of hard work, dedication and love, their application for asylum may be denied. If their application is denied, they may be deported from the United States. We will not have control over this. We can only do our best to give the asylum seekers a chance.