Grace Episcopal Church in Defiance will present a follow-up event about immigration when it hosts, The Journey to Citizenship, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
Led by Sr. Andrea Inkrott of Project Hope in Archbold, the event will cover the following topics: What’s required to become a legal permanent resident? Who is eligible for citizenship? What’s the process to become a U.S. citizen? Is there a monetary fee for citizenship? How long does it take to become a U.S. citizen? Could you pass (the naturalization) test?
This will be the second presentation about immigration at Grace Episcopal Church, located at 308 W. Second St., following a successful event back in March led by Sr. Ellen Lamberjack of Project Hope in Archbold. Both Inkrott and Lamberjack are recognized by the Department of Justice to represent immigrants before the Department of Homeland Security, after earning the proper accreditation.
“We were very pleased with the response from the first immigration event, and as people were leaving, they were saying to me, ‘I would like to know more about the (naturalization) test,’ ‘I wonder if I could pass the test?’ ‘Are you going to do this again?’ said Cindy Shaffer of Grace Episcopal Church. “Since that first event, we’ve had it in our minds that we would do a second event this fall, and we’ve been working toward that end.
“As a church, we’re committed to social justice issues,” added Shaffer. “We’re a very small congregation, but this is a way we can make a difference in the community. It doesn’t matter to us that we don’t have big numbers, we feel as though we found a niche that we can fill.”
Inkrott, who belongs to the Sisters of St. Francis in Tiffin, has worked at Project Hope since 2014. Project Hope provides legal services for immigrants in northwest Ohio and beyond. In addition, the organization provides many services and programs, such as: helping with applications for legal permanent residency, application for naturalization and petitioning for a relative, while also offering classes and tutoring in preparation for citizenship, to name a few.
During her 60 years in religious life, Inkrott has served as a grade-school teacher, a high-school science teacher, a missionary to Mexico, in Hispanic ministry for 20 years in North Carolina, was on the leadership team with the Sisters of St. Francis, and for the past five years at Project Hope.
“Here at Project Hope, I do a lot of naturalization applications, renewal of legal permanent residency, and I work a lot with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) young people,” said Inkrott. “After Sr. Ellen spoke (at Grace Episcopal), there were a lot of questions, such as, ‘What does it take to be a citizen?’ ‘How much does it cost?’ and so forth. That’s what we’re going to talk about on Nov. 19.
“That night we plan to give participants a taste of the test of what it takes to become a citizen,” continued Inkrott. “What many people don’t realize is that most of the people who are taking the test are doing it in a language that’s not their own. The people who become citizens of this country work extremely hard to do so.”
Inkrott is looking forward to sharing information about what it takes to become a citizen of this country.
“To me it’s really, really important that people understand the real truth about immigration, especially legal immigration,” Inkrott said. “I wear a button that says, ‘We’re a nation of immigrants,’ and that’s something I want people to remember, so that they can appreciate what their ancestors went through. I also want people to know they can help new immigrants. To me, it’s a privilege to share information about many people that I love.
“Diversity is what God put on the earth, God loves diversity, and out of diversity, new things can happen,” added Inkrott.