These days immigration policy is like a sea of shifting sand. While the laws may not have changed dramatically, the interpretation and application of them has changed substantially. For those whose lives are directly affected, namely immigrants and their families, life has taken on new uncertainties. Many people have lost visas they had for years or lost the opportunity to acquire green cards or citizenship because of these new developments.
Top this off with a sense of fear and, in some instances, outright hostility, and immigrants are often left feeling unwanted, unwelcome, and unloved. The truth is that immigrants are a vibrant part of our communities and our nation. Most of our families were at one time uprooted from another homeland to seek a better life. Today’s immigrants are in similar circumstances. Readour recent post about some of the factors driving immigration today and why we started our immigration legal services center.
Family knows no borders and friendship ties us across man-made boundaries
When immigration is restricted in cities and towns, both on the border and in the interior of the United States, those communities can suffer economically, culturally, and spiritually. The suffering may weigh heavier in one or more of those areas in different parts of the U.S. For instance, farming communities, border cities, and towns experience a more direct economic effect because of the loss of labor and the restriction of cross border commerce. Border towns and cities also suffer spiritually and emotionally because families may be divided.
Here in El Paso, we feel the pain in all of those areas. With twenty five percent of our population foreign born, mostly from Mexico, we can’t help but be impacted on multiple levels. The people living on the other side of the river or fence are not simply our neighbors to the south. They are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, extended families, and friends.
Esperanza Nueva — cultivating hope and offering support
The current conditions within the U.S. inspire us to be extra cautious on behalf of our clients in the immigration clinic. We must determine with the client if it is a good time for them to advance their immigration status. Our immigration clinic exists to walk alongside our clients and provide accurate information to help them understand the changes, which can be confusing and frightening.
It is highly recommended that people seek immigration legal services from immigration attorneys and DOJ recognized non-profits with accredited representatives (such as at Ciudad Nueva) that are experienced in assembling complete application packets for immigration relief. This is especially important now because U.S. Customs and Immigration Service is no longer offering an opportunity to submit additional documentation once the initial application has been received. They are now rejecting applications rather than providing people with the opportunity to add to their documentation.
Welcoming the stranger in peace and love
As a community, we are saddened that people who have come to our home are not always being treated with the dignity they should be treated with, as human beings and as children of God. If we recognize that God lives within the people who have immigrated to our city and country, how can we not suffer with them?
Please join us in reaching out to the community of immigrants, both residents and newly arrived. Contact us today if you would like to become involved in what the immigration clinic is doing for our friends and neighbors.