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Past Accomplishments

Thanks to the many Congregation Action Network faith leaders, community leaders, and volunteers across the DC Metro area, we built up tremendous momentum in 2019 that we have carried forth into 2022.


We are proud to be a part of this work! Here are some accomplishments from 2019-2022:

  • Hired CAN’s first Executive Director. In June of 2022, CAN’s Board of Directors hired Eli Johnson as our first Executive Director, and authorized recruitment for a professional organizer.  Having dedicated staff provides our volunteer leadership with guidance and support.

  • Filed Articles of Incorporation. In late 2021, CAN decided to become an independent organization, while maintaining an affiliation with Faith in Action.  During the first half of 2022, our Steering Committee worked to create the strategic organizational plan that included becoming an incorporated not-for-profit organization, pursuing 501(c)(3) status, and identifying other legal and financial requirements. The incorporation was completed in April 2022, and the existing Steering Committee members became the initial Board of Directors.

  • Organized the National Fast for Freedom for Citizenship. In June of 2021, CAN organized a multi-week Fast for Freedom, held at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, just a block from the Capitol and the Supreme Court.  This powerful witness to the need for a Pathway to Citizenship for all immigrants brought many congresspeople, Senators and other officials to our teachings.

  • Sanctuary Hosting. With significant support from CAN staff and other member congregations, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, hosted Rosa Gutierrez Lopez, and her children, in sanctuary from December 2018 until October 2020 when Ross was granted a stay of deportation. Rosa now lives independently with her family in Montgomery County, MD and has stayed active with CAN. 

  • Sanctuary Act in DC. After an intense advocacy campaign by CAN and partners, the DC Council passed the Sanctuary Values Act in Oct. 2019. This law bars DC from notifying ICE when someone is being released, blocks ICE agents’ access to DC jails and facilities, and prevents the city from holding a person in custody for ICE, or sharing information about an individual with ICE. 

  • Stopped the opening of a detention center in NOVA. CAN worked tirelessly with #UnitedAndFree in 2019 to assemble research and resources and reach out to the NOVA jurisdictions that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) had targeted for a proposed immigrant child detention center. The outreach secured statements from all of the largest jurisdictions, including the City of Alexandria and Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, leading HHS to drop its plans.

  • Won an expansion of available funds to provide free legal representation for all immigrants in DC to $2.5 million.

  • Stopped the opening of a detention center in DC. In Aug. of 2019, the DC Council enacted an emergency rule to block the opening of a detention center in Takoma, DC which would have held up to 200 immigrant children. 

  • Deportation defense for members of our community. 

    • CAN organized rapid response and accompaniment for Binsar, a Silver Spring resident and caretaker at the Glenmont United Methodist Church who was detained by ICE on church property in Sep. of 2020. Our organizing helped block his deportation and secure his release from detention.

    • CAN staff and volunteers accompanied Veronica, a mother from Mexico living in Montgomery County, to her ICE check-ins to prevent her detention and deportation. Our accompaniment was successful and Veronica has been able to continue fighting for asylum. 

    • CAN supported Coach Fofo, a Maryland resident from Togo with his asylum case by mobilizing support at his ICE check-in in October of 2020 successfully preventing his deportation.


  • Drivers Licenses for ALL in VA. CAN members partnered with VACOLAO and other immigrant rights organizations to advocate in the Virginia General Assembly resulting in a Drivers Privilege Card for immigrants in VA.

  • Stopped a new detention center in MD. Working in concert with local residents and Maryland Against ICE Detention (of which CAN is a founding member) CAN leaders helped prevent the construction of a privately owned 600-bed immigrant detention center in the town of Sudlersville, MD.

  • Mutual Aid Campaign. CAN raised over $100,000 for those families in our congregations who experienced financial strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also have supported food distribution programs at member congregations throughout the region reaching thousands.

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