Immigrant Connection new Sites 2023
IC - Wellspring
Immigrant Connection - Wellspring in Hanover, Pennsylvania became recognized by the Department of Justice in January 2023. About 23,000 foreign-born individuals reside in Hanover, and many more immigrants also seek employment in the region in agricultural and food manufacturing businesses.
The community at Wellspring Church understands that there is a clear and pressing need for immigration legal services in the region - the lack of services has been detrimental to immigrant families as well as the workplaces and communities they are part of.
Opening IC - Wellspring was imperative for this community, and Site Director Josiah Beers shares, “We want immigrants and our whole community to thrive, have security, and be hopeful for their children’s future.”
Locally, IC - Wellspring partners with a community organization that has served the south central area of Pennsylvania for the past 40 years. They offer centralized resources such as ESL classes, citizenship classes, a food bank, and job training. Now with IC - Wellspring offering immigration legal services, they will be able to offer more comprehensive services for immigrant families.
IC - Wellspring is proud to be a place of welcome, bring change to this region, and increase access to vital services. The site looks forward to being part of immigrant families finding greater opportunities for stability and strength.
IC - Dayton
Dayton, OH is a certified “Welcoming City” for refugees, and over 25,000 immigrants and refugees - predominantly originating from Latin America, Afghanistan, and East Africa - reside in the county. In order to open Immigrant Connection - Dayton, three organizations (Valens Solutions, Fairhaven Church, and Dayton Dream Center) partnered together with the goal of increasing access to immigration legal services for the growing immigrant community in the region.
Each partnering organization has had a long history of building programs and offering services and support to local, underserved families. As the organizations resolved to work together to establish a site, IC National was able to make sure the site would open quickly and effectively.
IC - Dayton was approved by the Depart of Justice in July 2023.
Steve Saltar, IC - Dayton’s Site Director, recounts that many doors opened and opportunities aligned perfectly for them as they were getting started, and now the site is serving more clients than they had anticipated this early on.
He shares, “Only one month after opening, we served three times as many clients as we expected. Working together has made this possible, and we are still seeking more partnership opportunities so that we can reach and serve even more immigrants.”
This site hopes to bring on new staff, grow sustainably, and continue to serve immigrants in the region for decades to come.
ic @ Table Church
Over 60,000 immigrants reside in the Des Moines metro area. Many families are drawn to the area to work at nearby shipping and food packing plants like Tyson, Amazon, and others. During 2020 the Church launched a robust tutoring program at a local elementary school across the street from their church building. 98% of the students are immigrants.
This close proximity with students and congregation members who are immigrants highlighted the pervasive challenges immigrants face. Tarin Obbnick and Natalie Wiseman saw a deep need in their community and for immigration legal services and knew they had to do something.
Table Church was approved as DOJ Legal site on December 29th, 2023 by the United States Department of Justice. The staff members of Immigrant Connection @ Table church are convinced providing immigration legal services leads to the thriving of immigrants and thus the thriving of everyone in a community.
Site Director Tarin Obbnick commented on the impact of ILS on a community, “Greater access to ILS more stability for kids, better learning environments for educators and students, more job security for employees, greater strengthening of the community’s workforce, and the economy as a whole.”
Immigrant Connection at Table Church is looking forward to being a trusted service in Des Moines and surrounding areas providing English Language classes and Citizenship classes.
IC - Pine Belt
IC @ Lifepoint Church
In the Washington DC metro area and neighboring counties, there are over 200,000 foreign-born residents. Immigrant Connection at LifePoint is located just 30 minutes away from DC in Waldorf, MD and is hosted by LifePoint Church, a multi-ethnic and community service-focused church that has wanted to take steps for a long time to better serve its immigrant neighbors and surrounding immigrant communities.
IC at LifePoint was approved by the Department of Justice in July 2023, and they are now prepared to journey with immigrant families through immigration legal services, especially as immigrants continue to face challenges in navigating the immigration system.
The LifePoint community has founded transitional housing for women in crisis, partnered with social service organizations in Charles County, and run a food pantry for years. Now through their IC site, they are hoping to be a space where immigrants are welcomed and served well. The site is already able to provide services in English and Spanish through their bilingual legal representative, and the LifePoint church community has also volunteered to offer translation and interpretation for clients in Tagalog, French, Swahili, and other languages.
Ileana Garcia, IC at LifePoint’s legal representative, shares, “We are here for our immigrant neighbors and clients. We are here to listen and understand. We may not always have a pathway forward with their immigration status, but we are here to provide answers.”
ic @ Waite Park
Immigrant Connection - Waite Park was approved by the Department of Justice in October 2023 and is preparing for its grand opening in early 2024. This site is hosted by Waite Park Wesleyan Church, a growing multi-generational and multi-ethnic church that is also home to Hispanic, Ethiopian, and multicultural congregations.
Additionally, Waite Park runs a community Celebrate Recovery program, partners with Together For Good to provide support for children and families experiencing crises, and annually hosts free oil change days. Opening an Immigrant Connection site perfectly aligned with Waite Park’s passion to serve their local community.
Emma Herrera, Site Director of Immigrant Connection - Waite Park and legal representative, shares, “We want immigrant families to know they are supported and that there are people on their side. No matter what their situation, we want to respect immigrants, try to understand their stories, and stand with them.”
Immigrant Connection - Waite Park hopes to offer legal services in an even wider range of languages, and they are excited to become a hub of connection and partnerships between the various immigrant populations, organizations, businesses, and services in their local community.
ic @ ACts of HOpe