Global Refuge Holiday Campaign Supports Migrant Families and ICE Detainees | Global Refuge

New name, same mission! LIRS is now Global Refuge. Learn more.

New name.
Same mission.

LIRS is now Global Refuge.

Welcoming newcomers since 1939.

See Our Evolution

The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Donate
Start of main content.

Press Release // Community Engagement

Global Refuge Holiday Campaign Supports Migrant Families and ICE Detainees

Global Refuge logo

Global Refuge Staff

December 16, 2020

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org | 443-257-6310

Baltimore, MD – In an effort to bring hope to thousands of migrants in the United States, Global Refuge is running its sixth-annual Hope for the Holidays campaign. The program collects cards and gifts for distribution to immigrant detention centers across the country, as well as to clients of the nonprofit’s national network of service providers, reminding migrant individuals and families that they are not forgotten during the holiday season.

“As we enjoy the holiday season, thousands of migrants are being detained in inhumane conditions, isolated from their loved ones and vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks that have plagued detention centers,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Global Refuge. “These cards and gifts are a source of hope and proof that someone is thinking of them, praying for them, and offering kindness and encouragement during a season that can be particularly difficult.”

As part of the Hope for the Holidays program, volunteers make and collect holiday cards with messages of support for migrants, as well as monetary donations for children’s gifts. So far this year, volunteers have collected nearly 15,000 cards for vulnerable migrant families, individuals and children. In 2019, campaign donations provided more than 1,500 children’s gifts – enough for every single migrant child in family detention centers in the country to open a special present over the holiday season.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging year for migrants in this country,” said Vignarajah, who formerly served as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama before taking the helm at Global Refuge. “In the past year, we’ve seen the border all but closed to asylum-seeking children and families. Because of draconian pandemic measures taken by the Trump administration, more than 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been expelled at the border without so much as a single hearing before an immigration judge.”

Many groups, including church congregations and volunteer organizations, host virtual card-writing parties using the Global Refuge toolkit, which offers instructions, sample messages in English and Spanish, and educational information about immigration detention. While Global Refuge cannot accept donated toys due to strict rules about what is accepted in detention centers, monetary gifts are welcomed online, by phone, or by mail to purchase pre-approved gifts for the children.

In addition to the United States’ three family detention centers – Karnes Family Residential Center, South Texas Residential Center, and Berks Family Residential Center – cards are also delivered to adults in approximately 20 other facilities by the organization’s detention visitation partners. Messages of hope are also distributed throughout Global Refuge’ network of service providers for newly arrived refugee families, to unaccompanied migrant children in foster care, and to recently released migrants in shelters.

Campaign participants are also encouraged to participate in advocacy by contacting their legislators about humane alternatives to migrant family detention.

“Hope for the Holidays offers an opportunity for us to reflect on everything we have to be grateful for and to think seriously about how we can use our gifts to show compassion and love for the stranger,” said Vignarajah. “As we all look for meaningful and safe ways to celebrate the holidays, let us remember the importance of true connection. Let us remember – and support – those whose lives are impacted by the immigration detention system.”

All cards will be received and processed by Hope for the Holidays church partner, First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore. For information on how to participate, advocate, or donate, visit lirs.org/HOPE

Founded in 1939, Global Refuge is the largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving vulnerable immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the U.S. Global Refuge is nationally recognized for its leadership working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through 80 years of service and advocacy, Global Refuge has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

The Latest

  • Press Release

    June 4, 2024

    Biden administration announces additional asylum restrictions

    The Biden administration announced today a proclamation to further restrict asylum eligibility at the southern border for people who cross between official U.S. ports of entry.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    May 23, 2024

    U.S. Senate renews push for immigration reform

    The United States Senate is poised to vote on immigration legislation this Thursday in an effort to revive reforms previously negotiated by Democratic and Republican senators.

    Read More
  • News

    May 15, 2024

    Empowering our new neighbors on the journey to healing

    Global Refuge supports refugee and immigrant mental health through holistic programming.

    Read More
  • News · Empowering Refugees

    May 14, 2024

    Breaking Barriers to Mental Healthcare

    In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we are spotlighting Margie Hartman LMSW, one of our dedicated clinicians who play a vital role in Global Refuge’s Mental Health Services program.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    April 9, 2024

    U.S. Refugee Admissions Program finds new life in FY 2024

    The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is on track to resettle the most refugees in three decades, and potentially meet the Biden administration’s goal of resettling 125,000 refugees this year.

    Read More

Share