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Update from the Immigration Committee – 3/4/2022

Newly arrived family from Afghanistan

Our accompaniment program has been in full-swing. In addition to continuing to work with individuals and families we knew before the pandemic, we have had the opportunity to form new teams over the past 2 years to accompany asylum seekers and refugees from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Russia, Nicaragua and Afghanistan. The newest arrivals to the East Bay are a family of 6 from Afghanistan, who are relatives of another family we have been working with since before the pandemic. This family was evacuated from Afghanistan last summer after the Taliban takeover and languished on a military base in Wisconsin for 6 months while awaiting resettlement. We were able to work with International Rescue Committee (IRC) as community co-sponsors to help get the family here. They’ve now been in Oakland for just a few weeks, and we’ve assisted them in finding and furnishing an apartment and getting them set up with needed resources. We’re so thrilled that they were able to come to our community and rejoin family members.

Recent Kehilla guest, with new glasses and haircut!

We also want to share the good news that, so far, thirteen people who we’ve accompanied over the past several years have been granted asylum. Another person was granted withholding of removal (protection from deportation, but a different status). Six have subsequently gotten green cards, and two others are in process. One person has been granted citizenship, and another family is submitting their applications. Each of these are big accomplishments and seem pretty miraculous, given how hard this journey is. Our accompaniment support has made a difference in each of these situations.

Celebrating a recent asylum win!

Our sanctuary guest program has also been very active. We’ve hosted 9 individuals or families in our guest suite at Kehilla for a total of 148 days. Numerous volunteers have helped provide meals, visits and practical support. Our most recent guest was a young asylum seeker from Honduras. We were able to connect him with many resources before he moved on to a program for youth.

If you have questions or are interested in getting involved with our work, please contact: immigrationcommitteechairs@kehillasynagogue.org

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The Weekly, Kehilla’s newsletter, is released every Thursday.