In 2013, a diverse group of Wesleyan leaders and pastors gathered to discuss ways to build relationships with and serve immigrants and refugees in their local communities around the United States. At that first gathering, it was affirmed that immigration is an issue, but immigrants are people and Jesus’ love compels Wesleyans to act as agents of Spirit-filled outreach and hospitality to all. Rather than wait for much needed immigration reform, it was decided to launch a grassroots network that would launch Department of Justice recognized immigration legal services offices and provide low cost legal services to immigrants and refugees in local communities across the country.
The Legal Network...
The first Immigrant Connection site launched in February 2014. Since that time, Immigrant Connection has launched 22 DOJ recognized immigration legal services offices all hosted in local churches. Our Immigrant Connection leaders have trained over 200 other leaders and annually hosts a conference for church-based immigration legal services offices. The Immigrant Connection legal network has served over 10,000 immigrant families and filed over 4800 cases. The work of Immigrant Connection has been featured in numerous national and local publications, including: The Leadership Journal, The Washington Post, World Magazine, Welcoming The Stranger, There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration, Seeking Refuge on the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis, and Advocating for Justice: An Evangelical Vision for Transforming Systems and Structures.
In 2020, Immigrant Connection took the step to become its own organization with a governing board and its own non-profit designation. We believe this allows us to further the mission of providing church-based low-cost immigration legal services in under-resourced communities by opening up even more potential local churches to launch IC sites in their communities.