Nicaraguan refugee will share her story at Rhinelander church SundaySubmitted: 06/26/2019
Story By Rose McBride

Nicaraguan refugee will share her story at Rhinelander church Sunday
RHINELANDER - Wednesday the Senate passed a bill to provide billions of dollars in emergency aid to migrants.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress haven't been able to agree on a solution to fix the border crisis.

Many migrants looking for a better life in America are living in terrible conditions at border facilities.

One of them is now in Rhinelander to tell her story to a church congregation on Sunday. 

In her home county of Nicaragua, Imelda took pride in her work.

"I am a professor, a pastor and all I did was work," Imelda said through translator Diego Duarte. 

But her profession and her faith are the two things that forced her out of her home. 

Imelda, who asked us not to use her last name, supported her students when they took part in "peace and justice" marches, so she says the government came after her. 

"[My] family agreed that it was appropriate for [me] to move to the United States so [I] could be safe," said Imelda. 

She left her children, mother, and whole family to take a 28-day journey to the United States. 

"Most of the time it was through buses but sometimes [we] would have to travel on foot," said Imelda. 

She made the journey with only the clothes on her back. With the help of other religious people along the way, she made it to Arizona. 

But once she arrived in the U.S., she was put in a detention facility with 750 other women for seven months. 

"The situations would be extremely difficult and very harsh, they would mistreat [me] very badly, not just physically, but more than anything, mentally," said Imelda.

Imelda relied on her faith throughout the experience. Several churches across the country, including the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Rhinelander, paid Imelda's $12,500 bond to get her out of a detention center in Arizona.

Now she lives with her sponsor in Indianapolis. She wants to get the proper documentation to get a job and hopefully help her family come to the U.S. too.

"[I'm] asking to please give [us] an opportunity and look at [us] as human beings who are searching for an opportunity. Not only just [me] but those 750 women in Arizona," said Imelda. 

Imelda will speak at the First Congregational United Church of Christ Sunday at 1 p.m. 

The church is also collecting money to pay her legal fees. Imelda has to go before a judge to claim asylum. 

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