(NewsNation) — As migrants are bused across the country, they’re starting new chapters of their lives in strange new cities with hardly any resources. That’s where New York Mennonite Immigration program advocate Maria Aponte steps in to help.
Migrants who are being bused are asylum seekers who have made asylum claims that grant them a temporary legal status that allows them to shelter in the U.S.
Aponte explained that community partners that provide emergency shelters for these migrants link up with organizations such as the New York Mennonite Immigration program. Her organization visits the shelters to meet with the immigrant population they are serving to provide needs and legal assessments to see if the migrants can qualify for immigration benefits such as Adjustment of Status, citizenship, renewal, green cards and similar benefits.
“We also act as a bridge for other legal representations needed for people that need representation from an immigration lawyer for their immigration cases,” Aponte said.
And many of these migrants come seeking asylum with no connections of their own in the U.S.
“The people that I’ve come across when working with the newcomers into our city are people that have no resources and no network of support in our country. They have arrived at our border asking for safety. They’re asking for asylum, which is a basic human right. And they are then paroled into the United States. And in order to be able to submit their asylum claims, however, they are under a timeframe, people that are seeking asylum have to submit their claims within one year of entering the United States. So there is a great, great need for legal representation for these people,” Aponte explained.
She said that migrants must submit their asylum claim application within the first year.