31 Days of Immigration Stories

Once in a job interview, I was told the position would include working closely with immigrant families. I was enthusiastic about this prospect, although I admitted in the conversation that I knew almost nothing about the political “sides” regarding the topic.

In an effort to assure the interviewer I could serve families in this capacity, I mumbled something about liking to meet new people and generally favoring that others feel welcomed in this country.

That halfhearted answer pretty much summed up my entire “opinion” on immigration. I had always found the topic difficult to engage because heated political debates and sensational statistics just didn’t resonate with me.

But stories do.

My approach to immigration has been significantly shaped by the experiences and stories of real people affected personally by the legislation, rumors, and headlines.

Last month, I completed my first book. Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World will release in January 2018 with Herald Press. In the process of writing, I was often reminded just how little most of us know about immigration: the whys, the hows, the process.

Write 31 Days is an annual writing challenge for bloggers in the month of October. This is my first year participating, and I am joining up for the Instagram Series, sharing 31 Days of Immigration Stories. 

Collecting these stories has been a humbling and sobering experience. I am deeply grateful to the friends (and some strangers) who have graciously shared their stories with me. I still have a few spots available, so if you or someone you know would like to participate, please contact me.  

To follow along and read these immigration stories, follow me on Instagram, where I'll be posting every day this month. You can also check back on this page, and I'll link each photo and story at the bottom of this post.

I hope these stories broaden our understanding of immigration in the U.S. today. I know that hearing them and writing them has expanded my view even more. I am honored to share them with you.  

I'd also like to invite you to pray for our immigrant friends and neighbors. I've created this super short, 5-day prayer guide. It offers language to lift up immigrants in different situations. It is, of course, not exhaustive, but it is a start for us to collectively pray for new arrivals in our country. You can download it here.

#1: Introduction to 31 Days of Immigration Stories
#2: Jabu, a lawyer from Sierra Leone
#3: This international couple lived in South Sudan and Egypt before moving to U.S.
#4: David came from Spain to attend a Christian university
#5: Marcos crossed the border from Mexico
#6: Andrej came from Slovakia, X-rays and all
#7: Caz came to the U.S. from New Zealand to serve
#8: Caleb was born in Cuba and raised in Panama before coming to the States
#9: Phoenix left El Salvador with his brother to escape gang violence - Giveaway has ended
#10: Damaris experienced culture shock coming from Nicaragua as a child
#11: Kali and her undocumented husband are waiting in hope for immigration reform
#12: Becca stopped saying "eh?" after she moved from Canada
#13: About 900 DACA recipients are serving in the U.S. military
#14: Billy came to California from Guatemala to participate in a singing competition
#15: Bronwyn came from South Africa for her husband's PhD program
#16: Anthony and his wife came to the U.S. from Taiwan for graduate school
#17: Paco has been waiting almost two years in Mexico to be able to join his U.S. citizen family
#18: Juan traveled from Guatemala across the border to join his mom who'd left twelve years earlier
#19: Gualberto had no money when he got on a boat and left Cuba
#20: Abdi, a Somali refugee, hoped to wash in the ocean before he died - Giveaway has ended
#21: Bryan left Costa Rica and came to the States for love and education
#22: Sandra's mother brought her from Mexico when she was 7 years old
#23: Robert was the first in his family to graduate high school and hopes to become a firefighter
#24: Betsy's first Christmas in the States was overwhelming to an 8-year-old from Cuba
#25: Aline came from Brazil at the age of 7 and grew up knowing she was undocumented
#26: Shine left South Korea when she was two and her family came to the States
#27: Brad came from South Africa on a student visa and now his kids are all dual citizens
#28: Ricardo is a DREAMer living in Arizona
#29: After 13 years being undocumented from Uruguay, Federico applied for his green card
#30: Pedro came to Chicago from Mexico when he was 4 years old
#31: We've come to the end - a lesson, a shout out of thanks, and a book

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