Immigrants & Lutheran Churches Connect Through AMMPARO

Date posted: Thursday 24 May 2018

Earlier this year my church, St. Paul-Reformation, hosted Alejandro. Alejandro is an immigrant from El Salvador who came to Minnesota for a hearing in immigration court regarding removal proceedings against him due to his undocumented status. Alejandro has been living and working in Reno, Nevada for a large construction company. During this time, he has been a skilled carpenter and highly-valued employee. He had been ordered to report to the local ICE office on a regular basis since his initial apprehension by immigration authorities in 2014. He has been faithful in attending these regularly scheduled ICE visits.


When he received an order to appear in court in Minnesota, he sought assistance from his local Catholic church, which was working alongside a Lutheran church in Reno in support of immigrants. This Lutheran church belonged to the ELCA’s network of Welcoming Congregations, called AMMPARO. St. Paul-Reformation is also a member. Thanks to this network of churches across the United States, the Lutheran church in Reno reached out to us for help.


My husband and I were able to meet Alejandro at the airport and host him for two days while he made his court appearance. We were able to get legal advice for him through our AMMPARO network in the Saint Paul Area Synod and accompany him to immigration court. He was assigned a follow-up court hearing date, giving him time to access legal consultation to plead his case for permission to stay in the US. When he returns to Minnesota in July we will again welcome him here, pray with him, and do our best to support him during the difficult immigration process. Being a member of the AMMPARO Network was a concrete way that we were able to connect with Alejandro and respond to God’s call to welcome the stranger, to advocate for justice, and to minister to the immigrant community.


Sandra Iverson

St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church