ABHMS, OGHS preserve families, empower immigrants

Marco Noyola and his family

Marco Noyola and his family

By partnering with other nonprofit organizations, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) preserves families and helps immigrants achieve the American dream. Take, for example, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS), Philadelphia, and the Noyola family. By awarding a $10,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Domestic Development Grant to EILS on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, ABHMS played a role in securing the young family’s future.

Marco Noyola came to the United States from Mexico at age 12. Like many immigrants, he graduated from a U.S. high school, married a U.S. citizen, fathered two American-born children, and pursued an American life that was productive and positive—except for nagging anxiety about the possibility of being deported and separated from his family.

Because of EILS’ guidance regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) U.S. immigration policy, Noyola has, without fear, begun the process of adjusting his immigration status. He received a work authorization that led to a position at Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations, York, Pa., and he is looking into pursuing college and purchasing a home.

“It’s all coming together now,” Noyola says. “My plans seem to be getting easier to accomplish.”

Founded in 2009 as a program of Esperanza, a comprehensive community development corporation, EILS was established as a legally separate organization in 2010 to focus on immigration reform and a variety of much-needed low-cost legal services for low-income immigrants.

In addition to assisting with DACA green card applications, family petitions and naturalization applications, EILS offers citizenship classes in English and Spanish as well as workshops about DACA, emerging immigration law, unethical legal practices, college access and family emergency preparedness.

“Located in the heart of a Latino neighborhood, EILS seeks to level the legal playing field by offering convenient, affordable and culturally accessible services to particularly vulnerable immigrants, with a focus on the Hispanic community,” writes EILS Executive Director Mary R. Clark, Esquire. “EILS has assisted over 500 immigrants, allowing them to obtain life-changing immigration benefits, while over 1,000 immigrants have been empowered through our workshops.”

For more information about OGHS Domestic Development grants, contact Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator of Volunteer and Disaster Response Ministries, at victoria.goff@abhms.org or1-800-222-3872, x2449.