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 →
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 →
Yesterday was the much-awaited court date for “Ben,” the asylum-seeker in detention whom we are prepared to sponsor, that is, vouch for and support if he can be paroled to us during the asylum-application process.
The court appearance turned out to consist of interacting with a judge on a TV screen in a room at the detention center. Continue reading →
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 →
Sometimes I experience the Christian season of Advent as an artificially imposed waiting period. Like, you will get Christmas if you sit quietly for four weeks. Let’s all patiently wait for the Baby Jesus to be born though this actually happened several thousand years ago and we go through this every year. This season of waiting, of course, is completely countercultural. We are surrounded with Get ready! Buy now!
This year, however, the decision to sponsor an asylum seeker has given new meaning to Advent as a waiting period. Continue reading →
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 →
A pretty but too early snow falls in my birthday week. Global warming, they say? Well, the snow is falling on autumn leaves that are still attached to trees. Trees used to always be bare by my birthday. In recent years they hang on at least two weeks longer than before. So what does it mean when fall comes later and snow comes earlier?
The key is that it is unusual. Nothing is normal. Or, the new “normal” is change and disruption. Unpredictability is an ambiguous gift for my birthday. Continue reading →
Getting 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 →
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 →
Epiphany. Will I do Jan Richardson’s one-day Women’s Christmas retreat today? Probably not. It’s already past 11. Will I write? Probably not because I really know nothing and it’s already past 11. Will this be another minimalist day? Probably.
I am so inclined to minimalism and the temperature is in the single digits and it is snowing. Continue reading →