Massachusetts Minister to Host Asylum Seekers Waiting at Border

As dozens of migrants who came on a caravan fleeing violence in Central America wait at the Mexican border to be let into the U.S., a minister in Harvard, Massachusetts, is waiting for just two. Her Roslindale home will soon also be home to two asylum-seekers.

Jill Cowie is a minister at the Unitarian Universalist church in Harvard. She filled out a form last week offering to host a family seeking asylum. In a matter of days, she was interviewed and then matched with a mother and daughter, who are currently at the border waiting.

She does not know much about the 23-year-old Salvadoran woman, and her 6-year-old daughter and admits she does not know how to speak Spanish, but Cowie said it was an opportunity to help someone in need that she could not pass up.

"They are fleeing gang violence," Cowie said. "They left after gangs were asking her and her sister to set up crimes on their behalf and they refused to do that."

Cowie is one of many the Unitarian Universalist Association reached out to through their Side with Love public advocacy campaign. Their organization is partnering with volunteers who are on the ground at the border and working to match as many migrants as possible with sponsors.

"So they can stay and fight their case for asylum not being in detention, to prevent this family with their young child from being in detention while fighting their asylum case," senior strategist Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen said.

Cowie is more than familiar with the detention centers, having worked with immigration detainees in the past. She wanted to be able to save at least one family from the conditions especially given President Donald Trump's comments that the migrant caravan is justification for a border wall.

"Just to make them feel safe," Cowie said. "I just really want to be able to do that."

Cowie could get the call at any moment that they have arrived and their stay will likely be a long one. The process to be granted asylum can take months, or even years.

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