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    Helping to get documentation where it needs to go

    Day 237

    Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    Hi! I’m Jilla from the Alight team, based out of Minneapolis. This week and next, I’ll be sharing stories from some of the work we’ve been up to with asylum-seekers on the U.S. Mexico border – people who are working their way through the immigration process – and those who have stepped up to help them.

    Less than 30 minutes away from Naco, Mexico, on Purdy Lane, lives a group of St. Agnes nuns. They’re committed to ‘building a happy and safe community’ for asylum seekers along the international border.

    I was immediately impressed by their immense compassion for the people they’re called to serve. I was also surprised by their love of all things cats and their mid-west décor from their home states – in the middle of the desert no less!

    Sister Susan and Sister Kathy were particularly inspiring – they work to provide legal counsel to immigrants so they can become US citizens, a dream many strive for in these parts.

    Right now, 127 of their cases are open, while another 20 are pending to close. They’re able to meet this challenge, even though Sister Susan is over 70 years young. But they get it done.

    During a shared day at their ranch, with a cold picnic lunch to boot, we were able to talk about why so many of these cases get backlogged. Simple barriers like filling out the form correctly in English, transitional fees, or postage become an obstacle to even beginning the process for naturalization.

    Sister Susan explained that sometimes she thinks “I’ve made a mistake taking in on too many cases,” but, she says, “my personal transition begins every time I look into the eyes of the migrant.”

    As an immigrant with parents that had to self-learn English, I could draw upon my own life experiences
    to understand how the barrier of completing a form in another language would make application very challenging, and the expenses of shipping those documents could make application seem out of reach. But what other option do they have? Luckily, they have people like the Sisters of St. Agnes in their network.

    We equipped Sister Susan and her cohort with transitional fees and postage funding, a boost to help them work through their case load.

    She cried when she received the support. “You don’t know how many people you are helping.”


    Meet Jilla! 

    Growing up as an immigrant in Minnesota, Jilla learned the value of community from an early age. Throughout her youth, Girl Scouts helped to ground her in that community, nurturing a strong love of where she lives and giving back to the people around her. As the Global Quality & Results Officer at Alight, she supports teams in using data in ways that showcase the humanity of the customer behind each data point. Fun fact, she earned the honor of representing her home locally and internationally as the 2018 St. Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows. She even received a crown and resided over a real-life ice palace!


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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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