Skip to main content

Immigration Task Force Works Towards a Better Life for Immigrants

Posted in

The ESTHER Immigration Task Force has evolved over the years into a wide-reaching group of dedicated people with ties to many groups in the community and beyond. Our agenda includes advocacy for specific policy changes; community education and consciousness-raising relating to the experience of immigrants; and walking alongside immigrants as they negotiate the twists and turns of life in our community.

Currently, we have a few people continuing the work of Safe Roads with other groups around the state. The Safe Roads initiative would culminate in a bill that would allow our undocumented immigrants to be tested to drive legally and carry insurance. The bill would be a win/win for the state, but is still meeting with opposition.

We continue the educational work of the task force through two programs: “Voices of Hope”is  a forty-five minute Readers Theater telling the stories of local immigrants, and their journey here and struggles in the community.  Music, stories and commentaries throughout the performance offer an enlightening presentation.  The Immigration Simulation, on the other hand is a hands-on, two-and-a-half-hour, interactive simulation of living out four days in the life of immigrants in our area.

We have been in contact with several people who have made a journey to help those crossing the border into this country.  We have sponsored a presentation by one group, heard some horrific stories of conditions from someone who worked in the detention centers, and saw an illuminating PowerPoint presentation based on a very recent trip. Some of us have even been in conference with those working on the border and trying to improve the lives of those suffering these unbelievable conditions.

While continuing to work for systemic change in our government, we do respond from time to time to individual cases. Melissa, a task force member and immigrant herself, has been through the USCIS course to become certified to help undocumented immigrants with their paperwork. As a Legal Immigration Advocate, she works out of Casa Esther in Omro. She will be helping those trying to apply for a legal status in this country, which, as she has found out from personal experience, is a very daunting task.

While she was working to set up this process, an ESTHER member was contacted by a young man working on a large farm about an hour from here. After personal meetings with him and learning the story of his abuse, firing and removal from his residence, several people from ESTHER are working to get this man a U Visa, which would allow him to be here legally because of the abuse he suffered. The young man did know where to turn and is now on his way to a permanent status here.

The task force meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton.  Please join us and join the fight for a better life for our immigrant families and work with them on the census and voter registration, two of our projects this year.

—Nancy Bourassa, chair, Immigration Task Force
February 2020

Share this