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InterServ International : Groups help immigrant community

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02/19/2017 | 05:31pm CET

Feb. 19--Rumors of raids and uncertainty about new government policies have put the local immigrant community on edge.

Before Rev. Chuck Tobin addressed the congregation last Sunday at St. Patrick Church, he asked if anyone had heard about members of the community getting picked up by immigration officials or other law enforcement agencies.

Many had expressed fears that they would be arrested outside work, and Tobin wanted to learn if the fears were becoming reality. He said he learned of just two such cases, but numbers were higher elsewhere.

value="ACORN:2849998794" idsrc="xmltag.org">U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last Monday it had arrested 235 people for various violations in six Midwestern states, including value="LS/us.mo" idsrc="xmltag.org">Missouri and value="LS/us.ks" idsrc="xmltag.org">Kansas.

Undocumented immigrants, students and workers in the country under various visa programs, and those pursuing citizenship are now unsure how they fit in now that President Donald Trump has begun to pursue the tough immigration policies that played a large role in his campaign.

Local churches and social service agencies are trying to help.

"There are a lot of things that we can do, but I think one of the biggest things is to continue to provide them a home, a community," Tobin said. "Because when they belong and feel like they have a place, then there's a certain sense that they're safe, that it's OK."

value="Taiwan:6169" idsrc="xmltag.org">InterServ began its Immigration Services Program in 2000 to help immigrants and their families obtain the legal documents and support services they need to fit into the community. The program also assesses the needs of families and refers them to whatever other services they may need and helps immigrants become more accepted and integrated into the surrounding community.

Dave Howery, executive director for value="Taiwan:6169" idsrc="xmltag.org">InterServ, explained why it is important for those who are already established in the community to help new immigrants.

"The human condition is to migrate when there's fear, when there's natural disasters, whatever drives people across the globe or across the country," Howery said. "How do we provide that support when they get here? That's where the faith community comes in. We understand that. That's our history.'

value="Taiwan:6169" idsrc="xmltag.org">InterServ will host a series of meetings this spring on immigration. The first will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church, 301 N. Seventh St., where the focus will be on education and health and will discuss "how immigrants are a challenge and a gift" to the community.


class="shirttail">(c)2017 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)

class="shirttail">Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html

class="shirttail">Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

© Tribune Content Agency, source Regional News

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