“Taking on an initiative this size to offer [immigration] legal services to our community is really a leap of faith for us, and we’re really excited about the opportunity to serve our community this way.”
So comments Sue Smith, executive director of LUCHA Ministries in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Since its founding 12 years ago, LUCHA Ministries has been committed to serving the first-generation Latino immigrant community through social, spiritual and community development programs. Taking on the task of helping all legally-qualified immigrants, both Latino and non-Latino alike, to legalize their status is a new yet daunting task.
“It is a complex process,” remarks Dr. Mukesh Srivastava, associate professor in the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington, and a native of India. “Many times immigrants are afraid that they will take wrong steps. And hopefully,” he continues, “there will be groups such as LUCHA who will provide you assistance in best positioning your [immigration] case.”
The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Board of Immigration Appeals, allows faith-based and other non-profit agencies such as LUCHA the ability to offer low-cost immigration legal services, explains Greg Smith, director of LUCHA Ministries’ Immigration Legal Services program. And though the training Smith received to become the program’s accredited representative is not equivalent to that of an attorney, the agency’s desire is to help legally-qualified immigrants seeking an immigration legal benefit move through the process as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.
Offering immigration legal services to the area’s low-income immigrant community presents numerous challenges, not the least of which is supporting the program’s high financial costs. But we believe this is an essential step in our calling as Christians to welcome the stranger among us (Matthew 25:35-36). It is important for LUCHA Ministries’ many friends and supporters to take on this challenge with us and give generously so that legally-qualified immigrants in the greater Fredericksburg area may receive the assistance they need.
“When we help immigrants with their legal status,” she explains, “we help not only the individual but also the family. We make an impact on the children, an impact that will last for generations to come.”
Smith goes on to add, “Because you have a heart for immigrants too, we invite you to partner with us. We invite you to give generously to help make this program a reality in our community.”
“We need your prayers, we need your resources, we need your donations to be able to do this ministry, to take this leap of faith. We thank you in advance for your prayers and for your support. May God bless.”