One morning in April of 2015, we had the honor of meeting Selamawit Chale for the first time. She came to our office, broken, hurting, and terrified, but at the same time, her inner strength was palpable. We learned that Selam was once a bright and hopeful young woman, anxious to make a difference in the world and to contribute to her communities; however, traumatic events in her childhood, followed by years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband had silenced her.
Our May 2018 clients of the month are Marcelle de Lima and Luciano da Silva. Marcelle and Luciano are from Brazil and they came to the United States after the Brazilian economy started to decline in 2001 and they lost their jobs. When they came to the U.S., neither could speak English and they had to start their lives over from scratch. They were resourceful and determined to build a stable and happy life for themselves and their future children.
What a year! 2017 will go down as one of the weirdest years we can remember. And for all the terrible news, we will remember this year as one of tremendous change and growth. On December 22, 2017, we will officially occupy our new office space at 4530 Wisconsin Avenue. While it is hard to leave downtown Washington DC, driving past the White House has lost nearly all of its charm this year.
Of all the stupid, dirty, slimy, no-good, treasonous, villainous, putrid, double-crossing treachery, low life, vengeful, mean-spirited, spiteful, nasty, pin-headed, pathetic, weak, ugly, traitorous, short-sighted, weak-kneed, unbecoming, dumb, awful, smelly, vile, cruel, vicious, unjustifiable, illogical, unfriendly, basic, ungrateful, pig-nosed, trashy, small-minded, ham-handed, mercenary, ruinous, bad, fallacious, godawful, crummy, abominable, bad trip, lame, poor, slipshod, cruddy, wicked, corrupt, mean, discouraging, unpleasant, sulfurous, harsh, rotten, scandalous and just plain uncool things that Donald Trump has done, his elimination of DACA, after promising to treat the Dreamers with “great heart,” has to be the worst, the lowest, the meanest, the weakest and the dumbest thing his administration has done.
Immigration in Iowa: Countering Dominant Narratives by Lily Hamilton* *Lily Hamilton is an intern at Benach Collopy where she works on asylum issues, LGBT immigration issues, and the fine art of satisfying the Immigration Court Practice Manual. I stumbled across an article awhile back on the New York Times site that sparked my interest. As a native Iowan, naturally any article from the Times mentioning my home state would give me pause.
Our client of the month for September 2016 is Flora Estrada Amador, a hard-working, kind-hearted woman from Honduras who waited over 20 years to become a permanent resident (“green card” holder) of the United States. Flora first came to the United States in the mid-90s as an A-3 personal employee of a diplomat. She then received Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Hondurans in 1999 and left her position with the diplomatic family.
When can I apply? How much does it cost? Can I skip the test if …? Do I have to give up my birth country nationality? These were some of the questions I had about becoming a U.S. citizen for a long time, which if not answered professionally, could lead to a very long path. This is essentially what happened to me and why I delayed the process of becoming a U.S.
On August 5, the 2016 Olympic Games will open in Rio de Janeiro. I love the Olympics because it is a time when we all set aside our day-to-day worries and differences to come together to cheer on the world’s elite athletes as they represent their home countries. But I am particularly interested in watching this year’s Olympic Games because of one specific “country.” This year, 206 countries will participate.
“We live in the age of the refugee, the age of the exile.” Ariel Dorfman (Argentine-Chilean playwright, academic and human rights activist) By Satsita Muradova If someone asked me what was the most difficult decision I have made in my lifetime, I would respond – seeking asylum in the United States. I know from personal experience that no one would leave their country of origin, their home, loved ones (often without a chance of seeing them again) and the life that they were accustomed to unless that place had become a living hell.
“It is said that the quality of recent immigration is undesirable. The time is quite within recent memory when the same thing was said of immigrants who, with their descendants, are now numbered among our best citizens.” President Grover Cleveland, 1897 Today, it can be easy to forget that Germans were once derided for not speaking English, the Irish were resented for being Catholic, and that Eastern Europeans were considered inferior to “real” white people.