What causes people to leave homes, families and communities that are dear to them in order to seek refuge in the U.S.? And how should the U.S. respond?

Throughout 2020, the MCC U.S. Washington Office is going deeper into these issues, taking a look at the root causes of migration, immigration and asylum policy, and how each of us can be part of working toward safe homes for everyone, and safe refuge for those who need it.

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Five ways to show compassion to asylum seekers

Asylum seekers, like refugees, are migrants who flee their homes due to a fear of violence or persecution. U.S. and international laws affirm the right to apply for asylum. However, several changes in U.S. immigration policy are preventing asylum seekers from finding safety. Here are five practical ways that churches and individuals can demonstrate compassion to asylum seekers.


Learn more about immigration and asylum through the links and resources on this page, and then reach out to your representatives in Congress to be a positive influence for change. Start at our  “How to be an advocate” page for more resources, or download our congressional meeting guide to learn step-by-step how to set up your own meetings with the offices of your senators and congressperson.

Current focus: Despite the risk of COVID-19, the United States continues to deport people to Central America. Click here for an email template you can use to contact your members of Congress.


Answering questions about asylum seekers

Katherine Smith, border and migration outreach coordinator for West Coast MCC, gives an update on how several changes in U.S. immigration policy are preventing asylum seekers from finding safety.

What are the root causes of migration?

What drives people to migrate from Central America to the United States? How deep do the "root causes" of migration go?


Read more about how U.S. policy is connected to the root causes of migration from Central America, and how MCC partners are responding.

What prevents people from finding refuge?

How you can respond

Children play with toys at MCC partner Casa Alitas, a house in Tucson, Arizona, where asylum seekers can rest for a few days between being processed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and connecting with family and friends. MCC photo/Katherine Smith


“In the refugee family seeking safety from violence, let us see your Spirit. In the migrant worker bringing food to our tables, let us see your Spirit. In the asylum seeker seeking justice for himself and his family, let us see your Spirit… Teach us to welcome not only the strangers in our midst but the gifts they bring as well: the invitation to conversation, communion, and solidarity.” -Collected Prayers for Immigrants. This worship service guide includes the full prayer and additional resources for churches. Encourage your congregation to set aside a special Sunday to pray for migrants. 

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Your gift of welcome helps MCC provide legal assistance in the U.S. and train those who work in nonprofit immigration organizations. Read a story of MCC's work in New York City.

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