Immigrant Rights

Sanctuary & Solidarity Information

After almost 10 years fighting for immigrant rights in Massachusetts at the legislative level, it’s clear that elected officials have not prioritized and end to the devastation faced by immigrant families – our neighbors, co-workers, friends and loved ones – here in Massachusetts.  They have passed nothing – absolutely nothing that would provide statewide protections, which would, in fact, benefit all residents.

There have been legislative champions that stand out, yes, but UU Mass Action understands this perilous time as a time for grassroots, people power.  People, guided by their values, must take action and not wait for legislators to find their conscience or courage.  The legislative body’s complete failure to act has served to strengthen the resolve of the Immigrant Rights Coaltion.  We will continue to fight, along with our coalition partners, to protect the immigrant communities here in Massachusetts.

Solidarity with our Immigrant Neighbors

Expanded Accompaniment Networks:

  • Accompanying people to court for immigration hearings, both federal and district courts
  • Accompanying people to the Burlington ICE office for check-ins
  • Letter writing in support of someone’s upcoming hearing
  • Posting bond
  • Raising funds for bond and legal fees
  • Developing legal resources and connecting people to attorneys
  • Organizing vigils and Jericho Walks
  • Family support and much more


In order to build capacity to meet the needs identified by our front-line immigrant rights partners, the faith community needs to continuously improve our structure and grow our volunteer base.  Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Join the Boston Accompaniment network: (contact
  2. Join the Burlington Accompaniment network: (Contact
  3. Contact Laura Wagner if your congregation/organization would like accompaniment training.
  4. Sign up for the UU Mass Action newsletter and keep informed about the latest developments


A network of physical sanctuary options has also been developed.  UU Mass Action, along with our faith partners, are committed to support individuals and families in sanctuary.

Recent Updates & Info

Report: Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice: Immigration Enforcement at Massachusetts Courthouses, A Fact Sheet

Northeastern University School of Law, Immigrant Justice Clinic Report: Blocking the Courthouse Doors, ICE Enforcement at Massachusetts Courthouses and its Effects on the Judical Process

Racism and Immigration, a Brief Refresher

What’s happening with the Safe Communities Act

Frontera Facts: Troubling U.S Supreme Court decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez upholds legality of indefinite immigrant detention.  Hope Border Institute, 2/28/18

ACLU Wins Protections for DACA Recipients Unlawfully Targeted by Trump Administration, 2/27/18

Nicaragua and Honduras TPS Decision, Elaine Duke DHS, Nov 6, 2017

July 2017 MA Supreme Judicial Court Decision

Haitian Temporary Protected Status Info: Haitian TPS Background

National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Summary of current situation ICE Raids and Other Recent Enforcement Actions

NYT Article, Immigration Agents arrest 600 people in one week

Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the US, EO details: Exec Order Interior Immigration Jan 25 2017

Memo from Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP: Immigration Memo from FTLF 3.1.2017

New: Know Your Rights Resources from NDLON (English & Spanish) 



6 Week Curriculum, Immigration as a Moral Issue – Unitarian Universalist Association

UU Immigration Toolkit

UUA Resources, Immigration

New: PICO networks, Deportation Defense Guide: Deportation-Defense-Guide_printquality

Love Resists, Four Part Study Guide on Criminalization and Resistance 

Immigration Data, Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

 UUCSJ and UURISE collaboration on an updated toolkit (as of Feb 2017)

Remember that hosting a person for Sanctuary in your congregation is only one of the many ways that you can support undocumented and other targeted communities. For more ideas, check out these resources from UUSC and UUA.”

Family Preparedness Plan, Created by the Irish Immigrant Center: family_preparedness_plan

From, Standing on the Side of Love: Expanded Sanctuary/Protect and Defend Resources

Teacher Resources: Healing and Processing Toolkit (Unafraid Educators)

Raids Rapid Response: Toolkit for People of Faith from World Church Service


UU College of Social Justice & UUSC New Sanctuary & Solidarity: Options for Congregational Action

A Radical Expansion of Sanctuary” – Mariso Franco – an extensive game plan for “expanding sanctuary cities to protect all residents from criminalization and deportation”

#SanctuaryEverywhere Resources, Created by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

What is a Sanctuary City, Q & A, prepared by ECCO (Essex Country Community Organization)

Sanctuary City Q & A – General Final

Overview:  Sanctuary and Immigration Information

Sanctuary one-pager, Includes expectations and definition of roles: Sanctuary Overview, UU Mass Action.2

Sanctuary Tool-Kit: SanctuaryToolkit-Updated-Final (3)

UUSC Refugee Support resource flyer

Community Immigration Rights Organizations Relationships

CIVIC Talking Points and the Trump Administration: CIVIC Talking Points, Immigration and the Trump Adm.

Know Your Rights Resource

The Informed Immigrant – In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, millions of documented and undocumented immigrants face increased uncertainty around their status in the United States. Immigrant rights organizations and leaders across the country have banded together and pooled resources to help immigrants and their allies obtain the current best-known information and guidance. 

Informed Immigrant was put together by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Center for Community Change,, National Immigration Law Center, SEIU, and United We Dream, among other organizations. The site is also offered in Spanish (Korean coming soon).

The URL for this resource is:

Immigrant Rights Are Human Rights

Scroll down for more info and resourcesimmigration-rally-2015

There is in enormous amount of suffering happening in our world.  People are being forced to flee their homes due to economic necessity, violence, climate change and endless war.  Those who suffer this trauma and make it to the US face even more suffering when they arrive due to our broken immigration system.  Some ask, “Why don’t people just immigrate to the US through legal means?”  The answer to this question is often, “there are no legal means.”  When faced with life or death, wouldn’t any of us chose life, even when they odds of survival are stacked against us?  That’s what today’s migrants face.

Blaming migrants for “stealing our jobs” is a false premise.  It has been an inherent part of the capitalist system to pit one group of workers against another, blaming the most powerless for lack of jobs and low wages.  This is a “fake fight” that only serves to distract us from demanding a living wage that should be available to all workers.  One must ask, “Who benefits from this fake fight?”

US Security is another argument that is driven by fear.  Wanting to exclude an entire population due to the actions of a few makes no sense.  This attitude does not apply to any other population – men have committed crimes, should we deport all men from the US?  Women and adolescents have also committed crimes – what do you think the response would be if there was a call to remove all women and adolescents?  This idea seems preposterous – ask yourself, why then, does it seem reasonable when discussing Muslim or Central American immigrants?

Legislative & Municipal Ordinances Action Update

The Trust Act has been refiled for the 2017-18 legislative session.  This bill calls for: 

  • Refusal to carry out warrantless detentions on behalf of federal immigration enforcement and prohibits the honoring of ICE* detainers or ICE administrative warrants
  • Prohibits the use of MA facilities and resources for ICE interviews and prohibits the provision of information to ICE about people in local custody.
  • Develops trust between communities across MA and local police, increasing people’s willingness to interact with police, thus increasing public safety.


*ICE: Immigration & Customs Enforcement

There are several communities who have passed a local Trust Act ordinance, as well as communities that passed a resolution to become a sanctuary city.  There are also some cities and towns that have not formally passed this type of resolution, but honor the principle in practice.

Communities that Passed a Local Trust Act Ordinance:

  • Amherst – Town meeting adopts resolution, May 2012
  • Somerville – Mayor Joseph Curtatone issues an executive order, May 2014
  • Cambridge – City Council unanimously adopts ordinance, June 2014
  • Boston – City Council unanimously passes the Boston Trust Act, June 2014
  • Northampton – Mayor David Narkewicz issues Executive Policy Order, August 2014
  • Holyoke – Mayor Alex B. Morse issues Executive Order, November 19, 2014
  • Lawrence – City Council passes the Lawrence Trust Act, August 2015
  • Lexington – Safe Communities Ordinance, April 2018


Sanctuary Cities:

Amherst, Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, Chelsea, Orleans, Somerville

Note:  UU Mass Action will focus on creating physical sanctuary and will not have an active organizing role in legislative action during this session; however, we do support this bill.  It’s important to note that while that status of being a Sanctuary City or passing a local or statewide Trust Act is important, this designation does not prevent ICE raids from occurring or forceably removing people for deportation.  It only means that local police will not cooperate with ICE.

Successful Campaign to Support Central American Families In Massachusetts!

“..As of November 1, 2016, at least 93 families (mothers and children) have made their way from Central America through Texas prisons and finally to Massachusetts.  The road ahead for these families is far from easy, as they are barred from receiving government benefits and their authorization to work is delayed.  They must navigate these challenges while recovering from trauma and pursuing asylum cases with tight deadlines…”

Read the entire press release here:



Immigrant Right Partner Organizations

Click here for a list of organizations, statewide & national, that UU Mass Action has worked with around immigrant rights.

Curriculum on Immigration for Adults and Children

The UUA has two pieces of curriculum available for congregations to use to educate their members around the immigration issue.