Orlando Local News

Asylum seeker continues community service in Orlando

todaySeptember 19, 2022 4

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants apply for asylum and every year the U.S. grants asylum to only tens of thousands of applicants.

What You Need To Know

  • Henry Mendoza sought asylum

  • He fled Colombia after his life was treated for his role as a community leader

Asylum seekers typically flee their country because of war, natural disasters, sexual assault, and lack of food and water.

Between 2018 to 2020, Florida granted asylum to at least 7,100 people, according to the Department of Homeland Security. That number is the third highest in the country.

Henry Mendoza, a political asylum seeker from Colombia, was one of the immigrants who sought asylum in the U.S. during that time.

Mendoza said he fled Colombia after his life was treated for his role as a community leader and his opposition to a company mining a water source for gold. He said about a million people rely on that water source.

“That was dangerous for me,” he said.

Mendoza found employment at the Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret at Azalea Park in Orlando, thanks to CareerSource. Before working there, he also volunteered there.

As part of his employment, Mendoza helps others in his situation. He trains asylum seekers to improve their job skills for their careers.

“When I see the people, the first time, it makes me remember myself doing the same,” he said.

He said he was happy he could continue his role as a community leader and serve the less fortunate in the U.S.

According to data by the Department of Homeland Security, the number of people who filed for asylum from 2018 to 2020 was more than 863,000 only around 13 percent of those were granted asylum.

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