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Why Rosa Belongs Here

Published: Oct. 22, 2021


Rosa has been in this country for more than thirty years. She was working as secretary for the Catholic Church. She also was known for her food service that allowed her to beself- supporting. She was helping to care for her mother (who was a U.S. citizen) and her step-father in their senior years. In all ways Rosa was part of the community and did nothing wrong. At the same time, she had worked tirelessly for decades to obtain residency and, hopefully, future citizenship. She submitted the large amount of requested paperwork, attended her scheduled meetings, and paid the required fees. All of this with the hope that she would be able to stay in the country that had been her home for over half her life. Each meeting she faced with fear, hoping that someday the control that ICE had over her life, including multiple interviews and travel restrictions, would lessen or be gone. In spite of her compliance with all that was asked of her, on May 11, 2017, Rosa was told that she must return or be returned to Mexico.

Rosa was soft-spoken as always, but it was evident that she had grown in courage and gained a real understanding of the immigration system, as well as a much deeper understanding of herself and the world around her. She said that she has grown spiritually while in sanctuary and “For every tear I have shed, I have received a blessing.” Further isolation since the pandemic has caused additional stress, as the community members that used to come sing with her or do crafts with her can no longer safely do that. And still, she says she knows that she has the unconditional love of those who support her and is at peace with the fact that there are those who do not.

Now Rosa is fighting not just for control of her own life, but for a fair resolution for others in similar situations, both now and in the future. She and others in sanctuary have told their stories and been published in national as well as local media sources, including the BBC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Denver Post. Rosa points out that for immigrants caught in this flawed system, every story is unique and should be heard and valued. Human beings, both families and individuals, are being gravely affected by our immigration system of long delays and unjust deportations.

There is a bright light on the bleak horizon for Rosa. Representative Joe Neguse, Democrat from Colorado, has introduced a private bill in the U.S. Congress to give Rosa a legal path to U.S. Residency: H.R.4936. The bill must weave its way through committees, find co-sponsors, and also have a companion bill in the U.S. Senate for it to pass. Then it would be on the President's desk for signature. What a day that would be!

What can we do to help?? Contact your Representatives and Senators and ask them to get on board with this bill to give Rosa the freedom she deserves. FCNL makes it easy to contact legislators, at https://fcnl.quorum.us/.

Yes! Rosa belongs here! Why? Because she is a human being, like you and me, and was caught up in and unsuccessfully tried to cope with our flawed immigration system. She avoided the cages and being torn from the country she knows and loves only by finding sanctuary in a welcoming church. Enough! We have a window for immigration reform.

Support HR 4936 for Rosa and check out the pending U.S. Citizenship Act (HR 1177): https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1177. This bill can be the change we need and would affect so many lives, both now and in the years ahead.

Click here more information about Rosa Belongs Here.

Or find “Rosa Belongs Here” on Facebook.

by Sandy Feutz, Gila Friends Meeting (10/21/2021)