“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Matthew 25:35, NRSV)

From Old Testament exhortations to the words of Christ, the Bible calls us to reach out to strangers, loving and welcoming newcomers.

MCC in the U.S. helps to educate about immigration issues; advocates for sensible, humane immigration laws; works to build peace in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border; and provides documentation services to help immigrants navigate the complex immigration system.

 

Central States

Immigration Educational Program, Brownsville, TX.

The Immigration Education Coordinator (IEC), Ana Alicia Hinojosa, is responsible for leading the work of MCC Central States within the program area of immigration education. This includes facilitating educational workshops in Texas that are geared toward Latino/a populations. She works with constituency churches, other faith-based organizations, and agencies doing similar work. The IEC networks with the MCC’s Borderlands partners, participates in MCC’s immigration network, and works with local partners and groups to build accountability.    
 

Response to immigrant needs in the Rio Grande Valley & Partners:

 

Below are the organizations, that MCC Central States is in relationship and/or partnership with in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, responding to the basic needs of families

 

Angry Tias & Abuelas of RGV:

MCC is a partner with The Angry Tias & Abuelas, whose mission is to advocate for dignity and justice for individuals released by Border Patrol or from ICE detention and delivered to bus depots or shelters in the Rio Grande Valley.  In partnership with MCC our aim is to assure their basic health and safety needs are met.

Good Neighbor Settlement House (Brownsville, TX):

Good Neighbor offers respite care for refugees released locally by US immigration authorities to pursue their asylum cases in the United States. Refugees get help with travel logistics, local transportation, and communicating with their families. We provide snacks, hygiene kits, appropriate clothing, showers, home cooked meals, and a place to sleep overnight if needed.

Loaves and Fishes (Harlingen, TX):

Loaves and Fishes provides meals to 100’s of migrants daily and has limited space for shelter to families before providing transportation to bus stations and/or airports.

Catholic Charities Respite Center (McAllen, TX):

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley operates the Valley Humanitarian Respite Center.  The center provides a place for 1000’s of men, women, children, and infant refugees to rest, have a warm meal, shower and change into clean clothing.  Refugees also receive medicine and other supplies, before continuing their journey.

City of Brownsville – Office of Management and Emergency Response: 

MCC and the South Texas Response Team is in relationship with the City of Brownsville as they respond to 100’s of individuals and families that are dropped off at the bus stations by government officials and/or shelters that are on their way to be united with family or friends in the U.S. People are provided with snacks, backpacks, and translation services to guide them to the correct bus and route to continue their journey.

East Coast

Urge Congress to support asylum seekers

 

In Florida and New York City, MCC East Coast provides immigration services to members of Anabaptist churches at minimal fees. Throughout the East Coast region, MCC staff are also available to provide education and resources for congregations interested in raising awareness about immigration related issues. With the supervision of immigration attorneys, immigration counselors assist church members with:

  • naturalization
  • family petitions
  • adjustment of status
  • replacement or renewal of green cards and work permits

The MCC East Coast immigration program also offers educational opportunities. In New York City, counselors hold immigration education clinics several times per year. In Florida, counselors visit area congregations to educate members about immigration-related issues.

In both locations, counselors meet with clients by appointment only. Please contact our offices to schedule an appointment.

In south Florida, contact: Jorge Vielman, JorgeVielman@mcc.org, (305) 249-3477

In New York, contact: Maria Aponte, MariaAponte@mcc.org, (347) 608-1925
Find out more about the New York Mennonite Immigration Program and the impact of the program in the city.

Great Lakes

MCC is finding ways to welcome our neighbors in northern Indiana and Chicago.

  • MCC staff member Krista Dutt serves as an immigration court watcher through the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants in Chicago.
  • MCC’s newest partnership is with the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC), an organization out of Chicago providing comprehensive legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. 
  • MCC has also given a one-time grant to LaCasa in Goshen to help with educational classes for people studying to obtain their citizenship.
  • MCC has been leading immigration learning tours from Great Lakes to the U.S.-Mexico border since 2014 with seven groups participating so far. 
  • MCC offers sponsorships for Great Lakes constituents to attend the immigration law training held several times a year at the MCC U.S. headquarters in Akron, Pa. 
  • There have also been several internships for students in the Goshen office.

For information about having MCC staff speak to your congregation or group, contact Kelly Shenk Koontz, MCC Great Lakes Program Director at KellyShenkKoontz@mcc.org or 574.742.2639.

West Coast

West Coast MCC’s Immigration initiative contributes to the flourishing of immigrant populations affiliated with constituent churches by providing immigration documentation services; educating congregations about immigration issues; and engaging in witness to the state about injustices inherent in US immigration policies. Given its limited resources, WCMCC focuses on providing education and documentation services to constituent churches in the region whose members and their families face the realities of US immigration law on a daily basis.  By providing documentation services and education WCMCC enables individuals and families to live full lives as residents, fully aware of their legal rights and responsibilities.

Building upon its experience in providing direct services, WCMCC engages in advocacy at the local and national level concerning the injustices within US immigration policy. WCMCC’s message to public officials is grounded in the reality experienced by immigrants and immigrant families across the region.  WCMCC brings the voice of immigrant congregations to policy makers and calls upon them to develop and enforce laws in ways that respect the dignity of immigrant

 

Related West Coast programs

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