The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) is a volunteer-based group of community members from Washtenaw County who are committed to advocating for immigrants rights. We work together in coalition because we understand that the oppression of one group of people endorses the oppression of any group of people, at anytime. Our immigrant population in Washtenaw County is currently being repeatedly raided by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE).
To provide a culturally sensitive and supportive urgent response to raid detainees and their families, educate the targeted and allied communities, impact local governmental policies to empower and protect immigrant community members, and to work toward humane national immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented workers and people
- Resisting raids and detainments as they are morally unjust and a clear violations of human rights.
- Centering the voices of those most affected.
- Following the lead of people from affected communities and cultivating such leadership.
- Prioritizing the desires and overall well-being of affected communities.
- Organizing alongside and in mutually respectful collaboration with other immigrant rights groups.
- Taking steps to research key issues and learn from existing organizing before taking action.
- Avoiding tactics that increase the risk of violence or deportation already experienced by racial minority and immigrant communities.
OUR FOUR MISSIONS
- Urgent Response Phone: provide safety, advocacy, counseling and resources to raid victims and those who are threatened
- For immigration related emergencies call 734-355-2707
- Documentation: diligently document cases
- Teen Group: trauma informed support group for teens impacted by immigration.
- Know Your Rights: formal & informal presentations to the affected community
- Ally Education: speakers who present about WICIR and dispel myths about immigrants & immigration enforcement
- We Think Globally & Act Locally
- Example Initiatives:
- Campaigns to stop deportations
- The Washtenaw ID project
- Collaboration with WCSO
- City and State sanctuary-like resolutions
- Tuition equality at Umich, EMU, & WCC
- Sanctuary churches
- Engagement: engage undocumented community in WICIR leadership
- Advisory: community events to advise local organizing bodies
- Fundraising: supportive funds (i.e. driving, basic needs, legal)
WICIR, a grassroots all-volunteer organization, was founded in March of 2008 in response to a particularly brutal, small-scale neighborhood raid by ICE and local police. The raid occurred in a mobile home community in Washtenaw County, Michigan. A witness to the raid (who was visiting friends in the mobile home community) contacted several other concerned people who previously met as a small group discussing Sanctuary City policies. Four co-leaders—two social workers, a student advocate by profession, and a member of the undocumented Latino community—came together and called an emergency community meeting within 12 hours of the raid. At least 50 concerned people of various faiths, community organizations, and colleges attended the first meeting. Approximately 30 community groups and congregations were represented, including Latino leaders from Detroit. (This article contains a more in-depth account of WICIR’s origin.)