By Jesse Canales, Spectrum News 13

Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants apply for asylum, and every year the United States grants asylum to only tens of thousands of applicants. Asylum seekers typically flee their country because of war, natural disasters, sexual assault and lack of food and water.

Between 2018 and 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. 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% of those were granted asylum.

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 threatened 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.

By erick