Please note: Client names, images and other information may be changed to protect the identity of our clients.
Marta - It's Never Too Late to become a U.S. Citizen!
Marta is an 89-year old great-grandmother originally from Mexico. She has been a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years.
Marta raised her five children as a single mother and now depends greatly on them for her care. Marta has serious medical issues but cannot afford medical care in the United States.
Like many American's, Marta periodically travels to Mexico to have surgery and receive treatment. Being a green card holder, Marta cannot be outside of the U.S. for more than six months out of the year. This requirement often makes it difficult for Marta to receive the continuing medical care she needs.
Marta’s daughter brought her to us to see if there were any options to help her mother. We helped Marta apply for naturalization with a fee waiver.
Because of the backlog in processing cases, Marta will be 90 years old when she receives becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen. She will become our oldest client to become a citizen.
Charles was tortured, abused, and held as an adult
Charles was just 16 years old when police in his West African home country accused him of being a political dissident. He was beaten, threatened, arrested and held for more than a week in dangerously unsanitary conditions.
His uncle knew if confined longer, Charles would die. His uncle bribed a guard and orchestrated his nephew’s escape. As soon as Charles was healthy enough to travel, Charles fled the country.
Charles was only 17 when he arrived in the United States but U.S. immigration officials accused him of lying about his age. Charles was held in an adult immigration detention center for more than six months.
Communication was difficult between Charles and his lawyer but with the help of a volunteer interpreter, our team began working with Charles not long after his 18th birthday.
After months of legal battles, Charles was granted asylum and reunited with members of his family.
Elisabeth's life wasn't fun in the sun
When most of us think of life in the Caribbean, we imagine the beautiful beaches and a laid-back way of life. But for Elisabeth, life was not beautiful.
Elisabeth worked hard at her job and even harder at raising her two children to be honorable, good people. Elisabeth led by example and often spoke out about the injustice and abuse inflicted on the citizens by the government.
After a protest, Elisabeth was kidnapped by people working for the top officials in the government. She was abused, raped and warned if she continued to speak of the horrors that would be unleashed upon her.
Entering her home after the attack was painful. Everywhere Elisabeth looked were memories of the life she built, the friends and family she loved and the dreams she had for her people. But she knew, she couldn’t stay. Elisabeth wasn’t ready to die. She wanted to watch her grandchildren grow.
She slowly packed a few treasures into her backpack, one at a time put on her best walking shoes, turned slowly to give her home a final view before locking the door forever.
She began walking. She knew she had to make it to the Mexico-United States border to request asylum. The journey took many months and was rough. But she finally made it.
She made it into the country just before the pandemic began. Walking into our offices was scary but the smiling faces and welcoming attitude of everyone made her feel safe and at home.
Elisabeth’s immigration process will take many years but she isn’t worried about that. Right now, she is counting the days to apply for the right to legally work and begin helping others again just as the people who made our services available to her at no charge. They changed her life and she wants to do the same for others.