I haven’t written in awhile, so I thought I would share this update with you.
My biggest piece of news is that I am now officially a South Florida SPCA volunteer! I’ve only volunteered once so far (and spent almost all of that time mucking out the pony stalls), but I am excited to learn more from the folks who work with one of the largest horse rescues in the country! The downside? I was supposed to cook pork chops last week, but a cute pig wandered up to me while I was volunteering, and so I had to change the menu.
I’m also officially a member of the Fruit and Spice Park, which is just down the road from my house and is a great place to read/think/enjoy nature!
As you probably have realized by now, America has pretty much lost its mind. Immigration is changing all the time, and with the new Administration, we have no idea what to expect (how bad it is going to get) in the coming months and years. I was in immigration court last week, and there was an additional security officer walking around. The mayor of Miami-Dade county has agreed to have the police cooperate with ICE–making our community less safe. Pray for us, y’all. One good thing that happened: a client who was a victim of domestic violence had her green card approved!
The rest of my work has been the same, mostly. Client appointments. USCIS forms. Interpreting. Listening to unaccompanied children describe the physical and sexual abuse/violence they fled.
I am afraid for them, especially as Immigration keeps making things harder.
Here is an excerpt from National Justice For Our Neighbors’ response to the Executive Orders:
“As people of faith, we are called upon to seek mercy, do justice, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Times change; governments change; yet these commands remain unchanged. JFON will continue to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters and fight for them, and alongside them.
- Construct a southern border wall
- Boost border patrol forces and increase the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations
- End “catch and release,” in essence guaranteeing that immigrants and asylum-seekers are continuously detained and denied freedom, with no regard to humanitarian concerns
- Cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities and counties, which have chosen to not cooperate with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in favor of protecting their residents
- Prioritize deportation of certain immigrants (this encompasses not only “criminals” but a range of other categories, including those who have been charged with a crime but not convicted)
““We strongly denounce President Trump’s widespread attack yesterday on immigrants and refugees, announced through two executive orders,” states NJFON Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown. “These enforcement-focused actions do not reflect the values which JFON upholds, including promoting family unity, protecting access to our justice system, and defending vulnerable populations. Now—more than ever before—is the time to open our arms and our hearts to immigrants.””
I attended the Miami Lantern Light Festival–which was cool but not worth the price, even with a Groupon.
I visited a couple of immigrants in the Krome Service Processing Center–one from Colombia who came on a tourist visa but said he wanted to apply for asylum when asked at the border (his visa was cancelled, and he has been waiting in detention for 9 months now–separated from his wife and son–pending a decision on his asylum appeal), and a 23-year-old on a tourist visa from Venezuela who was told that he could purchase a social security card to work in the US and did not realize that was illegal. Foolish, but understandable, I think, especially after my experiences living in Chile for a semester; everything is confusing in a foreign country, especially in the first couple of months.
I was very excited for the Women’s Rally in South Florida, but JUNK died in the grass in front of my house as I left to head there. AAA came, and as it turned out, he had a bad battery.
YAMM had a retreat. All of the Florida Conference’s young adult missional fellows got together in Tampa, FL for fellowship, discussions on the Enneagram and community organizing, the Gasparilla pirate festival and car-parking fundraiser with the Hyde Park UMC Prime-Timers group, and a morning of serving and spending time with folks at the church’s feeding ministry. I never leave YAMM retreats feeling well-rested or energized, but hey–at least it was fun to wear a pirate hat and hang out with the other YAMMs for a couple of days.
On the Global Mission Fellow side of things, I am working with another GMF, Kayla, on a presentation on mass incarceration, which has occupied a bit of my free time.
I’ve been admitted to 10 law schools so far, and I am planning a few weekend visits to schools that offer a travel stipend/discerning where I would like to go. I intend to make a decision before April 1.
I feel like I’ve had more energy lately, likely a result of my morning walks around the block and/or 9 PM bedtime.
I think that’s all for now! Thanks for reading!