Gina entered the U.S. from Jamaica as a tourist. She came to visit her boyfriend, Martin, who was living in New York. The couple met while Martin was vacationing in Jamaica with his family many years prior. They had maintained a long-distance relationship for years, seeing each other a couple of times a year and communicating by phone and video calls. However, shortly after Gina arrived in the U.S., the couple got married. Knowing that Gina's tourist visa was about to expire, they contacted CLA for assistance in applying for a green card.
In evaluating their case, the CLA attorney identified as an issue the fact that their marriage happened quickly after Gina's entry with a tourist visa. There may have been a presumption by Immigration that Gina knew she was going to get married and never intended to return to Jamaica, and was therefore committing visa fraud. CLA was able to address the issue with a carefully crafted application package which included evidence of the couple’s long-standing relationship and Gina's ties to her home country. The attorney showed that it was actually a change in circumstance and a family tragedy which caused the couple to spontaneously marry after years being happy in separate countries. CLA also prepared the couple for their interview, making the entire process as seamless as possible .Gina was approved and is now a permanent resident.
Gina's husband sponsored her for her green card.
Belinda received asylum.
Belinda is a transgender woman from Asia. She suffered terrible trauma in her home country, where LGBTQ+ people are often subjected to violence and cannot get any protection from the police. She came to the U.S. on a student visa, but quickly decided she could not return home and wanted to apply for asylum.
CLA represented Belinda in her asylum case, preparing a detailed application, including a long statement by Belinda describing her past suffering and future fears and evidence of the persecution faced by LGBTQ+ people in her home country. CLA also prepared Belinda for her asylum interview and attended the interview with her. Two weeks later, Belinda was approved. In another year, she will be able to apply for her green card. Belinda is now living safely in the U.S as her true self.
Marie came to the U.S. from the Caribbean to escape political persecution, but her application for asylum was denied. She decided to stay to take care of her daughter, a U.S. Citizen. Marie went to school and worked hard, supporting her daughter through college and graduate school, as well as her elderly, frail mother. Over the years, Marie had explored different options for obtaining a green card, but none was successful. This meant that she had a complicated immigration history. As soon as her daughter turned 21, CLA helped Marie file her green card application with her daughter as the sponsor. Despite her complex history, Marie was approved for her green card within 6 months. She is now a lawful permanent resident, and already counting down the time until she can apply to become a U.S. Citizen.
Marie got her green card through her daughter.
Karina was protected from deportation.
Karina was a Russian immigrant living alone in New York and battling stomach cancer. When CLA’s Attorney-in-Charge, Keiko, met Karina she was undergoing chemotherapy and was facing deportation. Ten years earlier, on the advice of a private immigration attorney, Karina filed an application for an immigration benefit for which she was not eligible. Believing this immigration attorney, she continued the long process which she thought would result in a green card, only to end up before an immigration judge facing deportation. Keiko appeared with Karina on the day of her hearing and argued for Karina to be allowed to stay in the U.S. based on the fact that she was in need of further medical treatment, that she made her application in good faith, and that she had no criminal history. A settlement was reached and Karina’s case was dismissed. She was able to remain the US and finished her treatment successfully.
Herman came to the U.S. from South America as a teenager. He had applied for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) when the program was first announced. He was approved and received a work authorization card. Unfortunately, Herman's DACA and work authorization had been expired for more than a year. In August 2017, CLA helped Herman apply to renew his DACA. He was approved in less than a month. Although there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of DACA, for now, Herman has his approval and work authorization.
Herman renewed his DACA.
Wilma became a U.S. Citizen.
Wilma was a 79-year-old senior citizen when she started working with Ann. She was originally from the Caribbean and received her green card through her son. Although she was eligible, Wilma had never naturalized. She did not have the money to pay the filing fee and was also concerned that she was not a strong enough reader to study for the civics test. Ann first helped Wilma apply for a fee waiver. She then arranged for Wilma to study for the test by listening to the questions and answers. A month after her 80th birthday, Wilma passed her naturalization interview and was sworn in as a U.S. Citizen.