Advocacy & Grassroots work with Refugees & Immigrants


The IRP advocacy team provides the CWS network of refugee resettlement offices and faith communities the resources and support needed to be successful in advocating for policies that welcome our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters.

Providing direct, on-the-ground support to local offices in 21 states and member communions across the country, our grassroots organizing team works to increase civic engagement and media placement, advocate for welcoming policies and mobilize national actions such as prayer vigils and fasts, as well as phone calls, letters and meetings with policy makers. This work provides CWS with the unique opportunity to represent the needs of the communities we serve – amplifying the voices of those often excluded from the political process.

In 2015, the advocacy team met with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for policies that would improve the lives of immigrant and refugee communities, while working to stop anti-immigrant legislation. Through a culmination of advocacy efforts and grassroots organizing, CWS along with partner organizations celebrated a significant victory with President Obama’s executive actions on immigration – expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, and issuing orders for immigration officers to implement prosecutorial discretion to stop the needless deportation of thousands of people. The CWS advocacy team also played a leading role in coordinating a friend-of-the-court Amicus brief from faith-based organizations to defend DACA and DAPA in the lawsuit brought against the administration. CWS also urged the Obama Administration and Congress to end the immoral and unjust practice of sending immigrant families and asylum seekers to detention centers. The advocacy team also played a lead role in educating Congress on the need to welcome and resettle those seeking safety, particularly families and children from Central America and refugees from Syria.

As part of the advocacy team, grassroots organizing staff continued to grow our network of faith communities engaged in refugee and immigrant rights by supporting fasts, vigils and days of action and through webinars, trainings, petitions, sign-on letters, call-in days and online actions. By developing a new civic engagement program, the grassroots organizing team partnered with local organizations to train more than 100 new refugee and immigrant leaders in multiple states on community organizing skills such as how to share their stories, recruit new volunteers, and help recently naturalized citizens register to vote. Continuing their leading role in the national coordination of the new Sanctuary movement, advocacy and grassroots staff assisted faith communities and immigrants living in sanctuary with national advocacy efforts and media strategy to fight their deportation orders and urge the administration to utilize prosecutorial discretion to reduce deportations.