Overcoming Immigration Hurdles

The Peace and Justice Ministry team of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church supported a family through the immigration process with the help of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON).
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Gabriel, a native of El Salvador, and Amy, his American wife, were facing a risky return to El Salvador for his visa interview. Ann Naffier, a JFON attorney, worked with them to prepare a host of documents for the application process. When all of the paperwork was completed, the couple traveled to El Salvador. Despite many delays, on August 12th, Gabriel successfully obtained his visa and returned home to Iowa.

Throughout this process, the members of the church provided support for the couple and their children, giving the family encouragement when frustrations arose. They shared meals together and sponsored events for Gabriel to share his story with others. The church also helped the couple buy a home and raised money for their trip to El Salvador.

Kay Graber, a member of the church, reports that Gabriel “now has his legal status, a full-time job in an automobile body shop in Mount Vernon” and “in four more years, he can seek citizenship.” In 2017 the Iowa Conference is contributing $45,000 toward JFON’s ministry with apportionment funds from United Methodist churches across the state.

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