Posts Categorised: Immigration

By Jim Pennington CDE, LCMS Foundation – Gift Planning Counselor

As of this writing, Congress has not decided whether to renew the charitable IRA rollover, or qualified charitable distribution (QCD), for tax year 2014. Since 2006, many donors age 70 ½ or older have used this option to exclude from taxable income qualifying charitable gifts transferred directly from their IRA to charity, including gifts to ministry. If Congress follows what has become its usual pattern, it will pass an extension in December that will apply through 2015 and be retroactive to January 1, 2014.

 

 

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If you are considering a gift from your IRA for 2014 and are 70 ½ or older (on the date of the gift) and itemize your tax deductions, you may want to go ahead and make the gift up to the amount of your RMD (required minimum distribution). If Congress passes the extension and makes it retroactive, you will be able to treat the contribution as a rollover gift. If Congress does not pass the extension or make it retroactive, you will still be eligible to deduct the gift as an itemized deduction.

 If you do not itemize or if you are making gifts in excess of your RMD, you may want to wait and see what Congress will do. If Congress does not pass an extension, you may want to make the gift from other resources. Of course you should always consult your tax advisor before making any contributions.

 For more information or help answering questions you may have about making a gift with lasting impact, contact Jim Pennington, LCMS Foundation – Gift Planning Counselor.

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Immokalee English Church

Under the leadership of Vicar Karl Glander our English language ministry in Immokalee continues to develop.  Every Wednesday night Vicar Karl meets with a growing group of young people for food, Bible study and friendship.  While these young adults are fluent in the native language of their parents, they feel more at ease speaking in English.  This has created a wonderful niche for discipleship.

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Immokalee Hispanic Church

Our Hispanic ministry in Immokalee was greatly enriched by receiving Danuel Morford into membership through affirmation of faith.  Before moving to Immokalee, Dan spent many years working as an accountant as a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America.  He now volunteers to tutor our Amigos Center English language students.

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Immokalee Haitian Church

Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS plans to extend a divine call to Vicar Saint Luc Charelus to serve on their pastoral staff together with Rev. Andre Mezilus.  Saint Luc is a student with the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology at Concordia Seminary.  God willing, he will finish his theological studies by the summer of 2015.

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Bonita Springs Hispanic Church

During 2014 we baptized two children and one adult and received two adults into membership.  The expansion of our music ministry has been a highlight.  Visit our website to hear a sample.  We hope to prepare a gift CD of their music during 2015.

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By God’s grace, and a lot of hard work we have expanded the scope of our immigration services.  We serve victims of domestic violence while continuing to provide the family-based and country specific immigration services that have already helped thousands of new immigrants to a new life in the United States. To that end we have hired a third immigration specialist, Marie Josee Maurice, to work out of our Bonita Springs office. Marie was born in Haiti and is fluent in English, French, Creole and Spanish.  We plan on hiring a second part-time Immigration Assistant in January.

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Newly hired Immigration Specialist Marie Maurice, Maria Herrera (U-visa Specialist), and Rev. Bob Selle (CEO)

With the help of our partners from the United of Lee County, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Bridge Fund of Bonita Springs and Estero, we have launched a cooperative arrangement with the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Shelter of Fort Myers to help provide U-visas to eligible victims of domestic violence. The U visa applies to immigrants who are the victims of certain serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator. An immigrant granted a U Visa will subsequently be given legal status to reside and work in the United States.

 According to founder and CEO of Amigos Center, Pastor Bob Selle; “The love of Jesus Christ compels us to extend a helping hand to the most vulnerable. Our service to the immigrant community is a tangible expression of God’s love and concern for people of all nations. It is an expression of what we believe and the one in whom we have believed.”

Save the Date

Our theme for the 2015 fundraiser event is “Children of Amigos”.  Christian Children’s author Mary Manz Simon will serve as Master of Ceremonies.  In addition to providing a financial pledge for Amigos en Cristo, attendees will have an opportunity to bring gently used or new Christian books for children.   Save the date: March 25, 2015 at noon, Spanish Wells Country Club, Bonita Springs.

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The Cost of Thanksgiving

By Rev. Robert Selle

Here is what it costs to serve over 200 Immokalee farmworkers a hot turkey meal with trimmings during Thanksgiving week:

  • 20 turkeys = $310;
  • 24 big hearted volunteers: priceless.
  • Buddy Taylor and his staff at Gator Hammock Catering slow cooked 20 turkeys over charcoal for 7 hours;
  • Eleven volunteers from Immokalee;
  • Fourteen volunteers from Lutheran Churches in Weston, Naples, and Fort Myers, FL
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Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or another other day of the year, Amigos Center welcomes the foreigner and stranger among us with the love of God in Christ Jesus.  It is the people who volunteer their time and talent that make it possible for us to carry out our mission of love by providing food, clothing, English classes, special outreach events, etc.

It is not always easy or cheap to serve others, but it is the price of Thanksgiving to God.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with us,

 

By God’s grace, and a lot of hard work we have expanded the scope of our immigration services to include undocumented victims of domestic violence while continuing to provide the family-based and country specific immigration services that Amigos Center is accustomed to offer.  To that end we have hired a third immigration specialist, Marie Josee Maurice, to work out of our Bonita Springs office and we have renovated our center to include additional office space.

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With the help of our partners from the United of Lee County, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Bridge Fund of Bonita Springs and Estero, we have launched a cooperative arrangement with the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Shelter of Fort Myers to help provide U-visas to eligible victims of domestic violence.  The U visa applies to immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who are the victims of certain serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator. An immigrant granted a U Visa will subsequently be given legal status to reside and work in the United States.

According to founder and CEO of Amigos Center, Pastor Bob Selle; “The love of Jesus Christ compels us to extend a helping hand to the most vulnerable.  Our service to the immigrant community is a tangible expression of God’s love and concern for people of all nations.  It is an expression of what we believe and the one in whom we have believed.”

To learn more about our immigration services, visit our website: www.amigoscenter.org, or better yet, come to our open house on Thursday, December 11, at 11:00 am at 25999 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, on the campus of Hope Lutheran Church.

                                                                                                                            Open House

                                                                                                                      Thursday, December 11                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   11:00 am                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       25999 Old 41 Road,                                                                                                                             Bonita Springs, FL 34135

 

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United Way Campaign Chair Buddy Kubesh hosted the 2014-2015 United Way Campaign Kick Off at Harborside on October 29th.  Over 800 people from companies, government and partner agencies attended.  This marked the beginning of the 2014-2015 United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Campaign.

Amigos Center has been a proud United Way Partner Agency since 2005.  Our center’s staff participates in our own agency campaign and assists the United Way with campaign presentations to help achieve the United Way’s fundraising goal.

United Way funding enables Amigos Center to provide low-cost immigration services for people seeking help to apply for citizenship, legal residency for family members, legal status for victims of domestic violence as well as many other family based and country specific immigration needs.

All money raised during the United Way campaign stays in our local community to help support local partner agencies like ours.

In addition to raising funds, United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies, helping us to work together, focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.

For more information about the campaign, call 433-2000.  You can also learn more and give securely on line at www.unitedwaylee.org

By Pastor Bob Selle

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Amigos Center immigration workers report a marked increase in telephone calls and walk-in visits of parents, friends and relatives of children who have crossed unlawfully into the United States at the Mexican border.  As news media has reported with growing consternation, a record number of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are crossing the border.  We are on track to receive 90,000 during this fiscal year compared to previous averages of 6,775.  According to Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC):

“Children report migrating to the United States for a variety of reasons, including reuniting with family, economic opportunity, and fear of violence in their home countries. While there is no single cause for migration, Central American children are increasingly fleeing gang-related violence.” (https://cliniclegal.org/sites/default/files/attachments/unaccompanied_children_faq_7-31-14.pdf)

A legal recourse these children have is to go to court and be declared a ward of the state and so be granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).  Once they have the SIJS, Amigos Center would be in a position to help them file necessary immigration forms.  However, the SIJS is a very intense process that is best handled by an attorney. As a result, Amigos Center has been referring these inquires to Ave Maria Law School, Legal Aid and non-profits in the Miami area that are listed on the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) website.

Welcome!

USCIS Civics Flash Cards

The 100 civics (history and goverment) questions and answers for the naturalization test are included in these flash cards. The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS Officer will ask the applicant up to 10 of the 100 civics questions. An applicant must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.

This is an easy way to learn more about history and goverment in the United States of America.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Citizenship, Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test, Washington, D.C., 2012.

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The  first question and answer is:

 

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The Constitution

For more information, please visit   http://amigoscenter.org/get-involved/civic-flash-cards/

 

If you would like to make a meaningful contribution of your time and talent let us know.   We have volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups: food and clothing distribution, tutoring English, children and youth ministry, etc.  What ideas do you have?

If you would like to learn more about our Amigos en Cristo ministry, visit our website www.amigoscenter.org,  or Facebook www.facebook.com/AmigosCenter.  Better yet, visit us in person.  We host tours of our Immokalee Amigos Center at your convenience.  Call Pastor Selle for more information (239) 281-1664.

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Amigos en Cristo

Amigos en Cristo, connecting agencies, resources and people together. We are a 501(c)3 organization.

Serving the people of our community

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