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Las Cruces woman sponsors migrant family from Honduras

Receiving asylum in the United States is a process that can take months, and sometimes years.

Allegra Love, an immigration attorney in Santa Fe, says there are two main pathways that lead to being granted asylum.

Migrants can either stay in detention until their immigration hearing, or they can get a sponsor and be released from custody.

According to Love, a sponsor is someone who offers food, a permanent mailing address, and a safe place to stay for people who are seeking asylum. In some cases, sponsors may have to pay upward of $1,500 in bond to promise immigration courts that the person they’re sponsoring isn’t a risk to national security.

“It’s really complicated,” Love said. “And it’s designed that way. It wasn’t designed to be simple.”

The biggest responsibility of a sponsor is making sure the migrant is present at all their immigration hearings. If they don’t show, they risk getting deported.

Isis Suarez and her 6-year-old daughter, Halle, fled Honduras in October.

“The crime. It’s really hard over there,” Suarez said.

They crossed the U.S. border at a legal port of entry and were detained for 10 days. Once they were released, they were taken to El Calvario Church in Las Cruces. The church provides migrants with food, clean clothes and temporary shelter.

That is where they met Irene Alatorre, a parishioner and volunteer at the church, who agreed to become their sponsor.

Now the mother-daughter pair live with her in Las Cruces while they wait for immigration court dates.

In the meantime, the three of them are working at El Calvario Church, helping other migrants.

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