Deysi is originally from El Salvador and came to the U.S. in 2004 seeking a peaceful life from a turbulent one in her country. She fell in love and began to live with her boyfriend. From the beginning, he abused her. In 2007, police were called because she suffered extreme injuries on her body and especially in her face. This time, Deysi told the police about the abuse she had endured for many years at the hands of her boyfriend. He was taken to jail and convicted of aggravated domestic battery and was placed in a domestic violence shelter.

Deysi had two teenage sons in El Salvador, but gangs were harassing and trying to recruit them. Consequently, one of her sons was killed in 2009 because he refused to join the gangs. Deysi travelled to El Salvador to get her other son and brought him to the U.S. last year.

She came to AFSC's Immigrant Services (AFIS) seeking help for both, since they did not have immigration status. AFIS investigated her case and found that she may be eligible for a U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa). The U Visa is offered to victims of crimes committed in the U.S. who have suffered suffered substantial physical and mental abuse and have assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant up to 10,000 U Visas per fiscal year. In Deysi’s case, AFIS provided enough evidentiary documents to prove her case. In the past few years, Deysi has reported a history of sadness, insomnia, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness according to a medical report.   

AFIS is happy to report that USCIS granted Deysi’s U Nonimmigrant Status in the U.S. on November 4, 2010. In about three years, Deysi may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status--that is, permanent resident status in the U.S. Her son was included in the process and submitted a full application as a derivative. His case is pending but he's hopeful USCIS will also grant his U Visa. He is currently 17 years old, attending school, and working. 

VIOLENCE AGAINT WOMEN ACT – VAWA -

Lipsa is from Honduras and came into the U.S. without immigration inspection in 2005. She married a U.S. citizen. Her husband physically and mentally abused her. She called the police because she could not take it anymore. She lived in a shelter for while, then she proceeded to seek help. A friend of hers told her that she might be able to apply for some kind of immigration relief. She retained a private lawyer but soon realized she could not pay the lawyer thousands of dollars. She was placed in removal proceedings in the Miami Immigration Court. The Court gave her a list and contacted several legal immigration service providers, including AFIS.   

She came to AFIS at the end of last year (2009) and after an interview we decided to take her case because at the time Marie and I thought she may qualify for VAWA. We filed her case with USCIS based on the VAWA protection, then proceeded to terminate removal proceedings in the Miami Immigration Court. A judge ordered termination of removal proceedings upon our motion.         

Her VAWA case was granted in October of 2010 and she called our office this week to let us know that her Lawful Permanent Resident Card has just arrived. Marie did a beautiful job preparing her adjustment of status.