Life in the sponsor lane

Sometimes when you are dealing with an asylum-seeker things happen very fast, sometimes very slowly, sometimes not at all. It’s stop-start rollercoaster stuff. Last week, for example, a friend of our guys who had been held for five months in a different detention center was suddenly sprung free on parole with no explanation. There is a welcome party for her tomorrow night at the Episcopal church. Miracles do happen.

Meanwhile, we and the other two sponsor couples we’ve teamed up with, because our guys are being detained together, have adjusted our sights to the long haul. Continue reading

What is a sponsor?

Since we signed on in early November to “sponsor” an asylum-seeker who is being detained at the border, we have been learning what that means. On the one hand, you’d think such a relationship should have been clearly defined for us at the outset. On the other hand, it is not at all simple, so no one could have predicted that it would turn out the way it is currently unfolding. Continue reading

A court date for Ben

Just when it looked like “Ben,” the African asylum seeker whom we are sponsoring, might wait interminably in the processing center where he is being detained just on this side of the border in New Mexico, the logjam broke. This week he was given a court date for his bond hearing: January 7. Getting a court date was a major hurdle. The prospects look good for his imminent release, though that will be up to the judge. Continue reading

“Ben”

Word came today from a contact who is working with asylum seekers in detention on this side of the border that our refugee’s latest interview did not go well. His officer was threatening to deport him because he’d entered the country after the law had changed to require application for asylum from outside the country. But the refugee, whom I will call Ben, which is not his real name, had actually requested asylum from two different places outside the country. Continue reading

Deliverance

IMG_3758Getting the documents together to apply to sponsor an asylum seeker is as complicated as applying for a visa for Congo, a process that always daunts me though I’ve been through it countless times.

The sponsor application was complicated by a last-minute switch in who was being sent to us, complicated by notarization required for one document, complicated by the local coordinator sending jpegs to include in our application that were too small to be readable and having to resend them, complicated by forgetting to include said documents and having to go back into the house to get them, complicated by forgetting my wallet when I did go to the post office and having to go back home to get it, complicated by having to pay more than expected to send a package that will arrive later than expected because the P.O. “doesn’t deliver overnight to some places,”  one of them being a border county in New Mexico where said asylum seeker is waiting for deliverance from a detention center into our charge. Continue reading

A momentous decision

I’m doing better now that I’ve come to terms with the dark cloud hovering over my head: my late mother and my own mortality. Still, there are days when I can’t do more than one or two things. The weather is that cold-rain, almost-snow deep fall gray more typical of November than October and I literally feel “under the weather” a lot of the time. Sad weather weighs me down. I hibernate and don’t get enough exercise. A head cold threatens despite daily doses of immunity boosters.

But today I made a rather momentous decision. Maybe that is my one thing for today because decisions can be taxing, right? Continue reading