REMINDER: MISSIONS MEETING THIS SUNDAY AFTER SERVICE AT ABOUT 12:00
We support AIJN (Annapolis Immigration Justice Network) both financially as board & members
Letter from Suzanne Martin, Pres of AIJN
I wanted to share a heartwarming story that happened this week. We had a family of 4 that reached out to us for a legal consultation. The father, "Jose", was worried because his 9 year old girl has an immigration hearing in front of a federal judge next month. We did an intake on the phone and immediately set up a legal consult in Baltimore with one of the trusted immigration attorneys that we know well. During the legal consult, "Jose" explained how he and his partner were running a ministry at a church in Central America working with children. After a new drug lord took control of the community where they lived, the situation became extremely dangerous when the drug lord began to target the couple and persuaded the children in the church to help him with his drug activities. One day, "Jose" went to his friends house. The drug lord showed up outside the house and shot EVERYBODY standing outside- several people were killed. As the drug lord left, he yelled out to "Jose" and others that if they didn't join him soon, they would be killed too. "Jose" realized he was going to be murdered soon - the drug cartel was following him to the grocery store and other places and taking pictures. He was terrified. The police were corrupt so he couldn't go to them for help. His only option was to flee. He fled to the border with his daughter a year ago and eventually they were released and traveled to Maryland. Jose's partner and other daughter fled a few months ago. His partner told us how she and her daughter were separated at the border and put into the icebox. She told us how they were forced to stand for many, many hours in freezing temperatures. At one point, her daughter was taken away and separated. For 2 months, she was separated from her daughter at the border. All 4 family members were eventually reunited. As "Jose" told us his story, he looked up at the ceiling with tears in his eyes talking about the ordeal that they have endured. Needless to say the tissues came out and he explained how he went to another immigration attorney a few months ago but was told that he and his family had no hope of ever getting any kind of relief here in the United States. When he said this, the immigration attorney put her head down in her hands and paused to compose herself... she looked up at him and told him that he was given very bad advice and that he actually has an extremely strong case for asylum and should definitely pursue it. We then discussed the next steps. Through our legal fund, this lovely family is realizing that they have a very good chance of starting a new life in the United States. This could take years to finish but once they file for asylum, the couple will each be eligible to receive legal work authorization permits to work here after 180 days. As we walked away, the couple was so happy that they reached out and gave the lawyer a hug. When we later told "Jose" that our legal fund committee agreed to send $ 3,000 to the lawyer so she can be retained for the family, he wrote "what happiness, we are very happy with this news, thank you very much, God continue to bless you!!". Our legal fund is helping our neighbors in the fight for due process but it takes a village to make this all work --- money and a great bunch of people in this group who give their hearts to these efforts in so many ways!!
2. Rebecca Lichtenstein and Hildy Cardaci attended the training session for ACT’s division of “Affordable and Safe Housing in Annapolis”. We had great presenters and many participants who actually live or have lived in areas of subsidized and public housing developments. They gave information of some of the problems of neglect and regulations that hinder residents to live healthy and decent lives, and from coming together to approach the owners for fear of being evicted.
We also practiced how to do “door knocking” - which we will practice some more during the next get together on Feb. 21 and then go out in pairs to do the actual work on March 30th.
Please consider coming out to these events! I can put you on the email list or give you the contact person information. Thanks for your help!!
Hildy Cardaci is termed out of Missions after 5 years, and we need a new chair person or persons!! Please consider if you and maybe a friend can take this on together!!
Please contact Hildy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-603-8787
There are many talented people in our congregation. Please step up or recommend someone for me to contact!!