The UMCOR Asylum Project (“Leading with Welcome”), a partnership that includes UMCOR, National Justice for Our Neighbors and Church World Service, helps a family from Honduras win their asylum case on the grounds of religious persecution.
By Christie R. House
June 16, 2022 | ATLANTA
“I am a person of faith. My story is real, and I was trusting in the purpose of God to get through. I’m a Christian, and that was the main issue.”
Miguel and Maria* had a comfortable life in Honduras with their son Andre, who was just four when Miguel left Honduras to try to make it to the United States. Miguel had been working in Honduras and made a good living. He decided to open a small business in his area. Business started out great, but then, he ran into trouble when a gang that monitored small businesses in his neighborhood told him he wasn’t following the rules.
But Miguel says it was one of his neighbors that turned him in – for a different reason.
“I am a person who evangelizes; I tell people about God. A member of the gang wanted to stop me. He said nothing was greater than the gangs and their weapons. He spoke against God. I said I believe in God, not a gun. He got mad.”
Before long, Miguel received messages that threatened his life and the lives of his family.
“I decided to leave. My life was insecure, and I feared for Andre as he grew older. All this suffering was because of my faith.”
In 2016, Miguel could enter the country, turn himself over to border agents and ask for asylum – a legal course of action. After a term of detention, he could be released to join family in New York while he awaited his asylum hearing.