Through the Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) program, your support of IM4HI has helped ease the transition for 269 newly arrived immigrants fleeing war, climate change, and instability from countries all around the world.
Your support helps people like Kate and Alex, from Ukraine, gain footing and heal after fleeing the ongoing violence and devastation of war.
Kate reached out to IM4HI while she and her husband were still in Europe, urgently seeking contacts and support in the U.S. We were able to match them with St. Mary the Virgin and Sherith Israel congregations, who agreed to accompany them upon arrival. Kate shares that knowing trustworthy people would be there to receive them meant all the world, helping them feel less alone and alleviating some of the stress and trauma as they fled their home country.
As they continue settling in and rebuilding their lives, Kate shares her gratitude: “St. Mary the Virgin and Sherith Israel have been helping us for over six months. They helped us to find and partly sponsored a wonderful, cozy, and bright apartment, found an immigration lawyer, taught us English, helped us with knowledge and advice, and involved us in all activities so that we would be fully integrated into American society. We are the lucky ones because all the holidays in the USA we now celebrate together. The most important thing is that I know for sure that each of the members of the group sincerely worries about us. And today I can say with confidence that they are our second family here in the United States.”
As faith communities we have welcomed families that have had to flee war, violence, and economic instability from all over the world, including Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Laos, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador, among others.
Are you interested in helping to reunite families?
We are asking people of faith to come forward to be an I-134A Supporter. This new government pathway enables Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians to come to the United States in a simple, safe way. We have over fifteen requests from family and friends of NEAT families seeking to reunite with their loved ones, and invite you to enable this beloved reunification by becoming an I-134A Supporter!
Why be a Supporter?
Over the past 5 years, seeking asylum from outside the country has become almost impossible. Title 42, Migrant Protection Protocols, and various other bans and restrictions on asylum have been put into place by Trump and continued by the Biden administration. This new program is one of a few safe pathways open to people trying to escape dangerous and unsustainable situations abroad. Through this pathway, people can fly directly from their home country to the United States without having to risk their lives traveling by foot, train, and otherwise through the jungle, desert, and perilous conditions. They can land safely by plane in the United States with pre-approval to enter. In order to access this, they will need a government-approved I-134A Supporter. Finding a Supporter is critical to access one of the only safe pathways for people to come to the United States. This can be a lifesaving opportunity.
Being a Supporter is a privilege: unfortunately, the asylum seekers we accompany do not qualify to be I-134A Supporters as much as they would like to be one to help their family member. They need the partnership of someone with the privilege of citizenship and specific immigration statuses to qualify as Supporters. Will you serve in this role?
A Supporter must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, a lawful temporary resident or conditional permanent resident; non immigrants in lawful status.
I’m in!! How do I become a Supporter?
We ask Supporters to give just a few hours of their time to fill out an application on the USCIS website. After that, you are all set! We will do the majority of the legwork giving you information about how to fill out the application, and providing an IM4HI-backed Covenant Agreement between yourself, the person you are supporting to come, and their family member/friend who they are reuniting with. See our I-134A Supporter FAQ for more details
We have already supported Nathalia, sister to Noel, who was accompanied by Sherith Israel and St. Mary the Virgin congregations in San Francisco. We applied to be her supporter in October, and by February she was already in the United States! We know this program works!
Will you consider sponsoring any of these family and friends of the amazing people we’ve accompanied? Just like for Nathalia and Noel, you can make a difference in each families’ lives.
Angel was accompanied by the Marin Interfaith Council and is now asking for a Supporter to bring his adult son and daughter here from Venezuela. He promises to take care of all their expenses and receive them to his home when they come to join him. Angel is incredible. He survived horrible situations in Venezuela and the Durian Gap and has come here and overcome. He looks forward to bringing his older children if he can so that they can study and start their lives here. Click here to learn more about Angel’s story.
Pablo has been volunteer legal support for several years, using his own experience representing himself in his asylum case to assist others in filling out their asylum applications. THANK YOU Pablo!
Pablo is asking to bring his children here to be reunited with them after five years apart. They are in Nicaragua in hiding, exiled from their own city due to his human rights activism. Please consider sponsoring Pablo for family reunification!
You can read Pablo’s presentation he created asking for sponsorship in his own words:
Photo: Pablo and his two sons he hopes to be reunited with
Meet Diatha and Jean Simon
“I am a mother of four kids, I just came to the United States in 2021. My sister and brother are in hiding. They ran to get away from someone who murdered her coworker. They were scared for their lives and fled to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. They were in danger, but even where they tried to be safe, it was not safe. Dominican immigration just tried to arrest five Haitians to deport them, and killed them when they tried to fight back. They’re hiding so they can’t even go out to get food to eat. If they get a Supporter, they will run so fast from Haiti they won’t even have time to put their shoes on!
My dad can’t go to the hospital, even though he needs to, because the gangs have taken over the streets. They kidnap and kill people and take over and occupy their houses. I want to bring my dad so he can go to the hospital and see a doctor here.
In Haiti, people are dying of hunger. They can’t find anything to eat. Gang members are stealing containers of food. My dad couldn’t pick up food I mailed to the family because the entire container was stolen. The Prime Minister is doing nothing, and they killed the President. They burned down the passport office near my house. My family can’t get the money I send home because of the gangs.
I can’t sleep at night. No Haitians can sleep at night. I want to bring my sister and my brother and my dad.” –Diatha, 3/23/2023
Sergio has been a leader in Nueva Esperanza (NEAT) since the beginning. He has been here since 2019 and was just granted asylum! He has been a NEAT intern, plays on our soccer team, and is advancing his career with Google and Alameda County Social Services. He’s our go-to to link others who we accompany to important resources as he continues to give back to others who have gone through similar situations. Sergio created a video testimony of his asylum journey and has presented it to hundreds of people to help educate on the root causes and realities causing forced migration in Nicaragua.
If you are interested in becoming an I-134A Supporter to reunite families and friends from the NEAT program, please reach out to NEAT Manager, Kelly Younger, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will support you every step of the way.
The San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC) 94th Online Briefing for Community and Faith Partners welcomed Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity’s Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) Program Manager Kelly Younger, who offered an overview of her organization’s important work, the danger of exploiting unknowing immigrants for political gain, and practical ways in which San Francisco congregations can support newly arrived asylum seekers.