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    people preparing a meal in a sunny kitchen

    Casa de Paz

    One small Colorado home has become a place of refuge and support for ­thousands of immigrants upon their release from detention centers.

    By Charles E. Moore

    November 4, 2021
    • Aubrey Mitchell

      I am all for helping immigrants, but providing social security benefits and free medical is a NO GO. because social security is money earnrd by hard working americans, and i want my funds when i retire

    • Jill Telford

      From all of the articles that I read featured in Plough, the article that hit close to home was the one entitled: A Home That Love Built in which told the story about how back in 2012, Sarah Jackson came up with a solution to lack of opportunities for immigrants to see/visit family (or even feel at home) and created Casa De Paz to help immigrants and their families feel at home as they faced and are facing immigrant detention. It gave me hope and inspiration that there is always a solution to the most dire problems. To read and hear how Casa de Paz started small simply by Sarah opening her doors to immigrants in order to show love and welcome them so they don’t feel like strangers but like family was and is incredible. When it comes to national and group identity, I see how we transcend it are connected beyond border by an invisible thread: “humanity”. We transcend borders and are a part of one giant family interconnected by love and the desire for a better life and to give our children a better life than the one we had. We may not always get what we “want” or deeply “desire” but we will always get what we need which is so clearly demonstrated by Casa de Paz’s simple but profound acts of kindness, service and most of all, love. We do have an obligation to those immigrating to new places and to our country, one to show them kindness, compassion and love. To treat them as our brothers and sisters because they are. We are more alike than unalike and we are meant to take care of each other and our environment that we share here on Earth. This article is the epitome of treating fellow human beings (each other) like the brothers and sisters we are. Thank you for it.

    “Last night I was hungry, and I found food for myself. I was thirsty, and I found something to drink. But what about my neighbors who can’t fend for themselves?” This thought inspired Sarah Jackson to start Casa de Paz, an organization that offers shelter, meals, plane or bus tickets, rides, and emotional support to immigrants released from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Her mission? “To reunite families separated by immigrant detention, one simple act of love at a time.”

    Sarah founded Casa de Paz in 2012, after she traveled to the US-Mexico border. The stories she heard and the individuals she met there motivated her to do more. She started hosting recently released detainees in her tiny two-bedroom apartment across from the detention center until she raised enough money to rent a bigger house.

    people preparing a meal in a sunny kitchen

    Preparing dinner at Casa de Paz, Aurora, Colorado Photograph courtesy of Colorado Sun

    Tucked in a cul-de-sac fifteen minutes’ drive from the detention center, Casa de Paz blends in among the many suburban homes. Visitors cross a doormat with the word “Home” emblazoned on it, the letter “o” replaced by a heart. The house is decorated with photos of travelers who have passed through. Two bedrooms on the first floor are fitted with bunk beds and closets filled with backpacks and donated supplies.

    With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Casa de Paz has hosted over three thousand guests from seventy-nine countries, helping them reunite with family or find a place to go next. Sarah’s book, The House that Love Built (Zondervan), tells the story in full.

    When Covid put a stop to in-person visits at the detention center, volunteers decided to write letters. The Casa de Paz Pen Pal program now has people writing to detainees in over thirty detention centers across the country.

    When people are released from the detention center, Casa on Wheels is waiting for them directly outside. The van is stocked with food, drinks, and other necessities. Volunteers start making plans to get them safely to their final destinations.

    Despite the pandemic, Casa de Paz was able to raise enough money last year to purchase a larger home across from the detention center. This will now be the hub for all they do, including overseeing las casitas, “little homes,” throughout the city. “The needs of displaced immigrants are only growing,” Sarah observes. “A much wider network of welcome is needed.”

    It is love that drives Sarah and the volunteers. “Detention is sterile. It is unwelcoming. It is cold. It is a prison. Casa de Paz is the complete opposite. Guests can feel like they are at home, even if just for a short while. Many guests have walked into our home, stopped, and looked around and said something to the effect of, ‘I feel the love that is in this place.’ I love that. It’s what keeps all of us going.”

    Find out more about Casa de Paz, and about Welcome Strangers, the award-winning twenty-minute documentary short about Casa de Paz.

    Contributed By CharlesMoore Charles E. Moore

    Charles E. Moore is a writer and contributing editor to Plough. He is a member of the Bruderhof, an intentional community movement based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

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