Pedro is a 14-year-old boy who has grown up in a Central Mexican town ruled by a violent drug cartel. The cartel operates above the law and the town’s police force is powerless to control their criminal activity. And for boys like Pedro, joining the cartel isn’t just an option, it’s mandatory. Anyone who dares to resist recruitment by the cartel faces torture — even death.
Pedro’s attempts to avoid joining the cartel were met with severe violence. Then the cartel started to threaten Pedro’s brother and mother as well. So, Pedro’s mother had to make a critical choice: stay with her friends and family in the town she loved, or leave everything to protect her two young sons.Read more
Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Ruth 2:10
The day I became a citizen was hope deferred that turned into hope assured. It was a day I had waited for my entire life! But the context of my story is steeped with bitterness. Why would I feel shame over something that, in our society, is valued as the ultimate dream?
My parents are both from impoverished parts of Mexico and Central America. They both sought to dig themselves out of poverty, trauma, and hunger. They met at the border of California and Mexico at a factory, where they fell in love quicker than expected and soon found themselves pregnant with me. While I was still a newborn, my parents decided that they wanted to cross the border to offer me a better shot at life. They crossed the border in the only manner they understood—without documentation.
“When you know what’s happening, there’s a point where you are responsible to help.” -Rachel
Rachel* and her husband Mark* had seen hopelessness in a country where jobs are scarce and the threat of violence is real. They saw the complexity of immigration from the side of those who feel the need to leave, but it wasn’t until they were faced with helping a Honduran child stuck in the murky waters of the U.S. system, that they truly understood how complex immigration really could be.
They had lived in Honduras for over a decade working at a boys’ home for teens who lived on the streets. She and Mark, now living in the U.S., heard from a close friend in Honduras. “Francesca* is a faithful, compassionate person,” Rachel says. She was married young and had several children, but was struggling to support them. Her husband had been looking for reliable work for seven years and his family was part of a family feud in which people had been killed and he felt their lives were in danger. In January 2019 he left with their 11-year-old son, Ruben*, to try to get to the U.S.Read more
"There’s a difference between being tolerated and celebrated."
In the midst of a conversation about how we can pursue our callings, own our voices, and gather our communities as we step into peacemaking, a Women of Welcome webinar guest bravely spoke about what it is like to be on the other side of conversations about immigration. As an immigrant to the U.K. and the U.S., Jo Saxton knows what it is like to be tolerated instead of celebrated.
Briana Stensrud, Women of Welcome Director, sat down last week for a conversation with author, speaker, podcaster, and entrepreneurial coach, Jo Saxton. Jo is co-host of the podcast Lead Stories and the founder of the Ezer Collective, an initiative that equips women in leadership. Jo is the author of four books, including Ready To Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step Into Your Influence. Born to Nigerian parents and raised in London, Jo brings a multicultural and international perspective to her leadership training for women.
When the conversation turned to how we can be good listeners as we engage in difficult discussions, Jo shared her own story about growing up an immigrant.Read more
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, provides protection from deportation and a work permit to undocumented children who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived here for multiple years, among other prerequisites. They must also not have any felonies or multiple misdemeanors listed on their records, and they must have graduated or be enrolled in school.
DACA children are commonly referred to as DREAMers. DACA does not ultimately provide a pathway to citizenship, but qualified recipients can reapply for DACA protection every two years. Most DREAMers have lived most of their lives in the United States, and DACA provides them with a way to study and work in the only home many of them have ever known.
Ana is a DACA recipient. This is her story.