The journey of an asylum seeker

In her home country of Honduras, Dairy Sambula received death threats and physical attacks due to her membership in a certain political party. Seeking safety, she left Honduras with her 6-year-old son in March 2014 and traveled to the United States.

A local pastor referred Dairy to Garifuna Community Services, a program supported by MCC East Coast through the New York Mennonite Immigration Program. There, Intake Assistant and Community Liaison Gregoria Flores listened to Dairy’s story, helped her document it and assisted her in finding legal representation for her asylum case in immigration court.

After meeting with four attorneys, one agreed to take Dairy’s case. Dairy had several hearings in immigration court. Thankfully, unlike many asylum seekers, she was not required to wear a monitoring device on her ankle, but she did have to report to an immigration office monthly.

In December 2015 Dairy won her asylum case. She now has an employment authorization card and she and her son have Social Security cards. She successfully completed a home health aide course and has a full-time job, while her son attends school. Dairy now volunteers at Garifuna Community Services to help other asylum seekers.

 

Gregoria Flores works with the New York Mennonite Immigration Program. Sara Mateo-Deo is an immigration counselor with MCC East Coast.