Ensuring Education, Literacy for Everyone

“Could you please fill this out for me? I don’t have my glasses.” Early in my work with Spanish-speaking immigrants, I would request a basic form or information in Spanish to allow the person the dignity of filling it out on his or her own. The person often looked like a deer in the headlights […]

What’s Happening on Summer Break Bridges of Hope provides summer activities

Each summer, parents want to keep their kids engaged and occupied.  And for working families with limited income, this can be particularly challenging.  Healthy meals, safety in the neighborhood, monitoring television viewing, time spent playing video games — all of these issues are important concerns. While some families schedule camps and activities and family vacations […]

What Will Happen to US? Halfway between September and March, DACA recipients wonder what their future holds

“If DACA ends, life as I know it will end, too. I won’t be able to drive anymore because I’ll lose my license. And I won’t be able to work, or go to school . . . . I don’t know what I’ll do!” This statement exemplifies the feelings of DREAMers everywhere, who anxiously await the […]

The Devastation of Deportation A Mom Leaves the US fearing Separation from her Children

Mirna  was 5 years old and Emilio was 7.  Mirna was a kindergarten student, Emilio was in first grade when I met these children. Their parents are from Honduras.  As an ESOL teacher, I became involved with this family because both kids were struggling in school. They were missing many school days, and both had […]

Where Do Immigrants Come From? And Why Do They Come? Understanding the Context for Immigration

Marcos* was a Salvadoran immigrant in his late 20s whose story caused me to dig deeper in order to understand his home country.  Since then, I’ve studied the history of El Salvador and last year, I visited there.  I’ve made Salvadoran friends both in the US and in El Salvador.  It’s fairly easy for non-immigrant […]

Immigrant Fears Information is Key in Addressing Immigrant Fears

Recalibrating, thinking about shutting down refugee offices. Consoling children and comforting parents fearful to leave home. Reminding DREAMers of the risk of applying for DACA. Grieving for people of color. Struggling to address questions and fears among immigrant friends. And Praying Together. Immigration advocates and agencies – including LUCHA Ministries in Fredericksburg, Virginia – found […]

Being Brown in the USA Race, Ethnicity, and the Struggle for Identity

“When I looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw there, I hated who I was.  I saw brown, and I hated being brown.” While “brown” isn’t a race, people are often stereotyped based on their appearance and skin color, including the spectrum of “brownness.”  And for many Latino youth, this can lead to […]

Beyond the Band-Aid Legal Aid Ministry that Makes a Difference

Band-Aid: ˈbandād/ noun  NORTH AMERICAN trademark an adhesive bandage with a gauze pad in the center, used to cover minor wounds. a makeshift or temporary solution: “A band-aid solution to a much deeper problem”   We all know what a Band-Aid is, and we all know what a Band-Aid does.  A Band-Aid covers a wound…and really […]

Immigration Legal Services Taking "Welcoming the Stranger" a Step Farther

On April 15th, LUCHA submitted the paperwork to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals requesting recognition that will allow us to open an Immigration Legal Services office.  As a BIA-recognized agency, LUCHA Ministries will have the capacity to offer low-cost immigration legal services by assisting qualifying immigrants applying for an immigration legal […]

“Compared to the situation at hand…there is a big need.” Reflections on Immigration Law: Quotes from BGAV's Basic Immigration Law and Procedure Training

*All quotes are direct from anonymous participants at the BGAV Law Training In the middle of last month, LUCHA’s administrator and co-founder Greg Smith facilitated a Basic Immigration Law and Procedure Training event at the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV). Co-sponsored by the BGAV and Poarch Law Firm, this 40-hour training seminar was designed […]

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