· Feeling helpless about the unfolding tragedies at the southern US border, we (the Johnson family) were looking for ways to get more involved. We applied to be a Sponsor Family with Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and recently welcomed Enma and Oscar, asylum seekers from Honduras, into our home.
· Enma (32) & Oscar (14) walked for over 2 months and 2,700 miles from Honduras to Tijuana/San Diego, fleeing gang and domestic violence. They presented themselves in San Diego, asking for asylum. After containment in migrant camp in Tijuana and later detention and separation by ICE in San Diego, they were released.
· We’ve found a lawyer to take their asylum case, and the cost is $8,000 payable over the course of this year, covering all representation needed through case conclusion (which could be up to 4 years).
· We expect to host Enma & Oscar in hour home for a year or more while their case proceeds. Enma is not legally allowed to find work for at least 6 months after the Asylum application is submitted.
· Our Sponsorship is completely voluntary and does not include any government or institutional support, meaning that we are covering all basic necessities, transportation and health services in addition to legal representation.
· We’ve set a fundraising target of $10,000 to cover legal fees and living expenses for the coming year for Enma & Oscar, and we hope you consider donating and sharing this request with your network.
Hello friends and family. Our family wanted to find a way to more directly help those impacted by the crisis at our southern border, and so applied with an organization called 'Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)' to be a Sponsor for an asylum-seeking family. On Father’s Day this year, we welcomed Enma and her son Oscar into our home, where they'll live with us for the next year or so as we try to help them get on their feet in America and proceed through their asylum case.
Enma (32) and Oscar (14) walked with a caravan of people from Honduras to Tijuana late last year, fleeing unspeakable violence in their community that directly impacted their family and caused them to fear for their lives. Enma felt forced to leave her two other children (11 and 5 year old boys) with her mother and flee with only Oscar. They spent months in a migrant camp in Tijuana before being processed into ICE detention in San Diego for a period of weeks, which included their separation without knowledge that they'd be reunited. The organization SURJ was able to find a sponsor family in St. Helens, OR that helped them get released and paid for their flight from San Diego to Portland, where they've been since February. Their past sponsor family then became pregnant and are unable to both welcome a new baby and continue to host Enma & Oscar, which is where we come in.
We've attended their first immigration hearing as well as multiple meetings with potential lawyers. Enma and the previous sponsors contacted over a dozen pro-bono to low-cost law-firms for support. Unfortunately, pro bono lawyers are extremely hard to come by given the amount of asylum seekers in the current system without means to pay and cases are delayed multiple years, so this past week we decided to contract with a well-referenced lawyer that Enma & Oscar felt very comfortable with. The cost of the lawyer over the next year will be $8,000, but that total will cover all of their legal work for however long it takes to process their asylum claim (generally between 1-4 years).
Their previous host family was able to raise some money to help get them started with clothing, a bike for Oscar, food and other expenses for the last 5 months. The last of that money has now gone to the deposit ($2k) for the lawyer. Enma and Oscar know and are thankful that we are now sharing their story with our friends & family to continue to raise funds on their behalf.
If you feel moved to help us help them, please consider donating to help cover Enma and Oscar's legal fees and living expenses over the next year. While they are clearly still dealing with trauma, we've found them to be wonderful people and really enjoy having them in our house - our family dinners have been very fun and Juniper loves playing soccer and puzzles with Oscar especially. Enma has been teaching us how to make Honduran tortillas and always impresses us with her contagious laugh despite her current situation. Oscar is taking to his intensive English coursework and making new friends at a summer school program we were able to sign him up for up at Benson High School; we're excited to see him opening up even in the few days that he's been with us. While it is painful to hear Enma talking to her other children each morning and learn more of the horrible details of the violence they faced and the treatment they experienced when first detained in the US, she feels that she made the right choice for their family in walking the thousands of miles to get to America. An unfathomable reality.
We very much appreciate any funds you can spare to help welcome Enma and Oscar into our lives and community and help cover legal and living costs! We’d also appreciate you sharing this fundraising page with your network.
We are happy to share more about the process, our experience and ways to get involved – don’t hesitate to reach out!
Love, Alex, Andrea, Juniper, Enma & Oscar