Posts Categorised: Immigration
You are invited to participate in the installation of two new vicars for our Immokalee ministry on Sunday, May 4 at 5:00 PM (106 S. 2nd Street, Immokalee, FL 34145). Vicar Saint Luc Charelus will finish his theological studies next year; Vicar Karl Glander is just beginning his 4-year program of study. Both are enrolled in distance education programs of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO and work under the direction of local mentors and supervisors. Upon satisfactory completion they will receive a Theological Diploma which makes them eligible for a divine call to the pastoral ministry of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Upon graduation, we expect Saint Luc to join our pastoral ministry team at Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS. Karl will head up our English language mission in Immokalee. Come and join us on this special day.
Amigos Center has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fort Myers based Abuse and Counseling Treatment (ACT), Inc. Our intention is to offer legal immigration help to undocumented victims of domestic violence who qualify for a special residency visa from U. S. immigration authorities. The ACT Emergency Shelter offers counseling and a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and their children. Amigos Center has taken this action in the wake of the January 2014 closing of the Florida Equal Justice Center that had formerly provided this legal immigration help to the families of ACT. Both ACT and Amigos Center are partner agencies of the United Way of Lee County.
English classes in Immokalee have expanded to four days a week, Monday through Thursday.
We have experienced a 69% increase in the number of English language students in our Immokalee Amigos Center.
We are on track to provide legal immigration services to 15% more people this year than last, an all-time record high. This is mainly due to a realigning of priorities in our Bonita Springs immigration office.
REDEDICATION OF BONITA SPRINGS AMIGOS CENTER
On August 8, 2013 Amigos Center celebrated the reopening of its newly refurbished immigration office at 25999 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs on the campus of Hope Lutheran Church. The President of Amigos en Cristo, Pastor Bob Selle, expressed his appreciation to all those who had contributed to this very important work and thanked them for their tireless efforts to support the Amigos Center’s services to the immigrant community of Southwest Florida. Pastor Selle complimented the Amigos Center’s two Immigration Specialists, Christina Leddin and Maria Herrera and Administrative Assistant Marisol Dickerson for their excellent work in this ministry. He pointed out that during the past year the immigration staff had counseled and assisted over 1600 immigrant clients, walking beside each of these individuals as they proceeded on their pathway to U.S. citizenship. In addition, since August of 2012, the Amigos Center has filed over 390 Applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for undocumented young students and graduates who were brought to this country at a very early age by their parents or family members. These individuals who receive deferred action status can remain in this country, obtain a drivers license, a Social Security card, legally work and pay in-state tuition should they attend college.
Amigos Center’s Executive Director, Denny Brown, also expressed his appreciation to all those who have, over the past decade, so faithfully supported this important ministry in our community, both financially and with their volunteer time, and urged them all to continue their efforts as the need for compassionate and professional immigration counseling and assistance has grown so substantially in Lee county in the past years.
Check out this great story from NBC-2 to read about and see a video about Esbin Staiger, Amigos Center Client, who is thankful that through the Deferred Immigration Act and the help of Amigos Center, he will be able to stay in the United States.
Our Amigos Center Immigration has been inundated due to new policy of DACA.
It hasn’t been 3 full days since the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program has been in place and wow have we been busy! Thank you to our Immigration Specialists for your dedication to those we serve as well as the amazing staff and volunteers who are helping with the increased call volume.
Read a PDF version of the story from ABC – 7 regarding the new immigration program or watch a video on ABC -7 website of a young boy at the Amigos Center who is grateful for the opportunity to apply now for papers and what this means for his future.
The addition of Maria Herrera as full time Immigration Specialist in Bonita Springs will also allow the center to expand services to provide more assistance with VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) & U-Visa’s (Victims of Violent Crimes).
See the press release here.
Olga and her husband Luis (speakers at our annual banquet in March) proudly smile with her certificate of naturalization! Olga became a US Citizen on May 3, 2012. Amigos Center helped Olga, Luis and their two children become US Citizens!
Immigration Specialist, Christina Leddin, writes:
Today I talked to the wife of a client that I had reviewed their self-prepared immigration case. As of yesterday, I am happy to say that her 97 year old Canadian husband now has legal permanent residency (green card) in the United States. The Canadian man and his U.S. citizen wife, who have been married for approximately 20 years, drove yearly to Canada for six months so that he could maintain his legal status as a Canadian visitor in the U.S. The couple felt that they were no longer able to make the yearly trek to Canada and that is when they called Amigos Center for guidance to apply for the green card. I saw the couple once and assisted them each step of the way over the telephone. Now the husband can stay permanently in the U.S. and will be eligible for U.S. citizenship in 2 years and 9 months.
Today Amigos Center had the distinct joy of handing a client her green card after 22 years in the United States. The client had been referred to our office ten months ago from Florida Equal Justice Center to file her adjustment of status case based on a U Visa, victim of a serious crime. She had been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her now ex-spouse and back in 2007 she had been granted the U Visa. Upon waiting the required three years, she was now ready to file for her legal permanent residence, namely the green card.
Amigos Center started meeting with the client in December of last year to prepare the required documents and in January we submitted all the necessary applications/documents/fees. In August we received a request for additional evidence from immigration and immediately called the client and responded to immigration’s request. Today, October 3, Amigos Center received the green card on the client’s case. We immediately called the client with the good news and within a few hours she was in our office to pick up the mail. She started crying and shaking and said that she finally got her freedom back. She left our office to call her mother and tell her the wonderful news. Now our client will be able to travel to her native country and visit her family after 22 years in the United States.