Refugee Ministry Grantee: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
Asha, who recently won her asylum case, and Las Americas Accredited Representative Betsy Allen-Rodriguez.
This May, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center will celebrate 25 years of providing probono and low-cost legal representation in El Paso, Texas. Responding to the needs of local immigrants and refugees, Las Americas seeks to provide high-quality legal services to low-income residents as well as advocacy for human rights.
According to the US census, a quarter of El Paso’s population is foreign-born and among the poorest in the nation (with 27% living in poverty). Las Americas mission is rooted in keeping families together, safe, and self-sustaining.
“These refugees have come from more than 60 countries since Las Americas started to apply for asylum on behalf of Central Americans 24 years ago. They have taken extreme measures to save themselves,” reports Executive Director Katie Hudak.
Since 2008, a violent war between two drug cartels in Ciudad Juárez, just across the river, has sent Mexican asylum seekers fleeing to El Paso. In spite of valid fears for survival, the US government only grants 2 -5 percent of asylum claims from Mexico. Few lawyers are willing to take on those cases, yet the violence in Juárez continues with 8 to 12 murders a day.
Katie Hudak expressed deep gratitude to UMCOR for its long-term partnership. “Funding from UMCOR allows us to take on important cases we may not have been able to take on otherwise. Some of these successes simply would not have been possible without that support,” She said.
In addition to supporting the Mexican asylum seekers, recent successes include an asylum victory for an Ecuadoran woman who suffered severe domestic violence and persecution due to her ethnicity. They also include a Somalian woman whose family was slaughtered for their refusal to give up their daughters in forced marriage to terrorists. Thanks to Las Americas both women were granted asylum and a network of support post-detention.
Landon Taylor, Manager of Church Relations for UMCOR
A native of Middle Tennessee and a member of the Tennessee Annual Conference, Landon graduated in 2003 from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). As a college student, Landon became very active in the ETSU Wesley Foundation campus ministry and found his passion to serve God by serving others.
After college, Landon traveled to the Island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, where he served as an Individual Volunteer for three months. Upon his return to the United States he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent five years working for United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction, as the communications and development director. Soon after, Landon began working with Mission Volunteers of the General Board of Global Ministries as program coordinator for the Individual Volunteer Program.
On March 5, 2012, Landon joined UMCOR to serve as its manager of Church Relations. His vision is to create stronger relationships with the local churches and individual donors who make UMCOR’s ministry possible. Landon also works to increase partnership opportunities for those who want to participate more fully in UMCOR’s work. “The connection between the local church and UMCOR is a powerful partnership to make God’s love real in the world,” remarks Landon. “I believe in the local church. Without its presence and participation in ministry, UMCOR’s work does not exist.”
To contact Landon please email him at email@example.com.
Greetings from the UMCOR Refugee Ministry Office! Our goal is to connect and support United Methodist congregations engaged with refugees, so the more we hear back from you, the better.
You can support refugee ministries through the UMCOR Refugee Ministry Advance, Refugee Response # 982540. The Advance is the designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church and ensures that 100 percent of each gift is used for its intended ministry. The Refugee Response Advance assists refugees and internally displaced people worldwide. It also expands support for US programs geared toward refugees.
As always we want your feedback, so feel free to email with any comments, questions, or suggestions: UMCORRefugee@gbgm-umc.org or 212-870-3888.
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