Yes, we could focus on all of the negative news surrounding immigration – from the recent government shutdown over the wall to legislation (that failed) to take away children’s rights to apply for asylum if they were born in Central America to the decline of service at USCIS…but not today. Sometimes I get tired of the negativity (though we can never ignore it). It’s important we remember the positives, too.
Cieley came to us about two years ago in a desperate situation. Her husband had been deported and she was left caring for two young children with major autism alone. Because she had a misdemeanor shoplifting arrest that USCIS treated as a felony she was ineligible for naturalization. With the help of a fantastic criminal defense lawyer, we got the conviction changed to reflect what she had been truly ordered to – simple probation, not incarceration. She became a U.S. citizen last week and now she can start the process of bringing her husband back to his family.
Vivian was married to Steve for years and years, despite the constant mental and emotional abuse. One day, he decided he was done with the relationship and he walked out, leaving her with their newborn. When their daughter was about six, Steve decided he wanted to be part of her life again. Throughout their custody dispute, Steve insisted he was a U.S. citizen. We didn’t have any proof to back-up this claim, but we filed for VAWA relief, showing that Vivian had endured extreme cruelty. The case was denied because we were unable to find proof of Steve’s status in the United States. Vivian was persistent, though, and found out that Steve was lying. He became a permanent resident just a few weeks after our VAWA application was denied. We’ve now refiled the VAWA application and are hopeful that we’ll get a quick approval.
Hala was married to a delusional man. At his worst, he physically attacked their young son in the middle night who had gotten up to use the restroom…his father thought he was an intruder and nearly beat him to death. Hala was scared to call the police, scared that they would take her children away from her and that she would be detained and deported for not having lawful status. Her other children begged her to protect the family and call the police, so she relented. Her worst fears did not come true and just today, we were able to tell her that her VAWA case had been approved. Now she not only lives without fear of physical harm from her husband, but she lives without fear of removal from the country.
I share these stories because I know this is a scary time to apply for immigration benefits. I want you to know that people are still getting approved. Yes, it might take longer and the work may be harder, but it can be worth trying.