From left, AFSC attorney Mariam Habib and US Sen. Menendez pose with the family of Yarelis Bonilla, in wheelchair, and her medical team.Photo: AFSC / Elissa Steglich
During this holiday season, one little girl in New Jersey is getting a special present: a literal chance at life. Five-year-old Yarelis Bonilla has an acute form of leukemia and her best chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. After her family was tested, she was lucky that her seven-year-old sister, Gisselle, is a perfect match. However, while Yarelis is an American citizen, her sister lives in El Salvador, and the United States denied two requests for a visa.
Thanks to diligent help from AFSC’s Mariam Habib, and intervention by New Jersey US Senator Robert Menendez, on Friday, December 2, the US State Department issued a humanitarian visa for Gisselle.
AFSC believes that this case in another example of the need for immigration reform in the United States. In the meantime, there is hope for one little girl.
Read more about this exciting victory.
In the Light,
American Friends Service Committee