I M HOPE Center

I M HOPE Center: A Response to the Immigration Crisis

I M HOPE Center is a Christian social justice services agency of the West Contra Costa circuit of the United Methodist Church established to provide top-quality and innovative legal immigration assistance for refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented persons and families. Do you remember Abraham? He was an immigrant. Do you remember the Holy Family? They were refugees seeking asylum when they fled to Egypt.

With currently heated political rhetoric, mounting concerns and uncertainties regarding documentation of immigrants nationwide, the United States Customs and Immigration Services has recognized the need for immigration legalization service providers to offer affordable assistance to immigrants of low/limited means. And in response the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are providing for churches and their representatives to be recognized and accredited to provide representation and legal services at low or no cost to persons needing help.

The hurdles we face in getting started are not insignificant: we need an immigration lawyer on the payroll before we can begin. And while there are many opportunities for matching funds and grants, most grantors expect us to have a substantial amount of cash on hand – at least $40,000. Justice For Our Neighbors, an agency of the United Methodist Committee On Relief, will match that amount, and provide other valuable services as well if we can meet that goal. The Immigration Task Force of the California Nevada Annual Conference also has funds for which we can apply. But currently we have only about $2,000 in the bank. Our circuit churches are making a monthly pledge of $100 each, and the Good Friday offering at our joint circuit service was designated for I M HOPE Center. If you know of any immigration attorneys, or others (potential board members or donors) who might be interested in this opportunity to help the people on the margins of our community, please contact Kofi Baah-Arhin, imhope.center@gmaill.com, or the church office, office@esumconline.org.

All donations are tax-deductible.