Please join the Mission and Evangelism Committee in welcoming Rev. Brian Loy, Pastor of First UMC in O’Neill, to talk about how we can aid families impacted by the O’Neill August ICE raids. The meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 5-6:30 p.m. in Wesley Hall. RSVP to attend.
More than 70 families are now displaced—without income to carry them through the winter months—as they await hearings on their status to live and work in O’Neill. Great Plains Mercy and Justice Coordinator, Rev. Kabala Chali said, “Many of you have heard about the current crisis of unaccompanied minors coming into the United States. Some of you are already responding in several ways while others continue to discern the best way to address the issue. While we all hold different views on how to address the issue of immigration reform, as Christians and United Methodists our calling has always been to be in ministry with the most vulnerable among us. God continues to call us to respond to the current immigration crisis with grace, compassion and dignity for these children are God’s beloved children.”
After the Aug. 8 raid by ICE officials, 17 business colleagues were arrested on charges connected with human trafficking that resulted in immigrant labor in a tomato harvesting business, potato farmer, livestock farms, a Hispanic grocery and a Mexican restaurant.
Those laborers – most of whom are from Guatemala, Loy said – were paid a small amount for their work by the business, which controlled their taxes, legal fees and housing.
“The pain that this organization has caused is inexcusable,” Loy said of the allegations.
The O’Neill church, at the suggestion of ICE officials, has become a headquarters for those seeking to enter the United States legally, with attorneys in place to help them with the process, although Loy says “the system is about a year and a half behind.”
“Basically our church right now is a hub for the immigrants to connect with attorneys to get paperwork in the system, so they aren’t rearrested and deported,” Loy said.
RSVP to Attend
If you can attend the meeting to discuss the ways in which our congregation can respond to this crisis, please RSVP online or call the church office at 402-371-2785.