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.
We are thrilled with our April 2018 Clients of the Month, Aldemar Segundo and Susan Matos Segundo. Aldemar became a permanent resident in March 2018 and can live securely with his U.S. citizen wife, Susan, and their two children. Aldemar’s improbable journey is one of the most inspiring cases we have been a part of. When DACA was announced, Aldemar was like lots of other Central American immigrants without status in the U.S.
For March 2018, we want to highlight our clients, Yovanny Soto and Heidi Andrade, and their really cute kids. On February 7, 2018, Yovanny was admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident after living in the U.S. without status for 18 years. Since he was a child, Yovanny has worked while going to school to help his elderly parents provide for his 16 siblings. After his father was murdered in Guatemala, Yovanny fled his home with the hope of safety and a better life.
This month, we are pleased to honor Angie Salguero as our Client of the Month. Angie, a transgender woman from El Salvador, won her case for asylum last month in front of the immigration judge in Baltimore, MD. Angie’s story of violence and persecution from a very young age included physical abuse by the police and gangs, the loss of family, a dangerous trip to the United States, and stay in immigration detention.
This one makes us so happy. Reina Mercado is a catracha (native of Honduras) who arrived to the U.S. undocumented in the early 90s. Following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, the Attorney General designated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans on January 5, 1999 and Reina was eligible for it. The government may designate a country for TPS when there is a catastrophic situation in that country, such as war or natural disasters, that makes it inhumane to remove individuals to that country at that time.
This month we are thrilled to recognize Milan Stankovic as our client of the month. After filing his I-589 asylum application and three evidentiary filings, several hours of grueling interviews, numerous status inquiries, and six long years of seeking protection in the United States, Milan has finally been granted asylum. Milan, previously a professional soccer player and small business owner in his home country of Serbia, fled his home in 2011 following years of brutal violence against him.
I have been waiting to write this one for decades. Meher is one of my favorite people and on May 18, 2017, she will take the oath of United States citizenship in her hometown of New York, NY. It was a 16 year journey that Meher and I began in our twenties. We have moved across jobs, law firms, cities, and countries together. Meher and I both overcame challenges to find enduring peace at this point in our lives.
Angela and Omar Totti Ramirez are our clients of the month for April 2017. Omar, a Bolivian citizen, recently received his residence based upon his marriage to Angela, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Bolivia. We thought we had seen it all before we handled this case. It started off as a simple marriage-based application for residence, the type we have done thousands of times. Angela had been married before.
During these difficult times for our country, when the Trump Administration has suspended the refugee resettlement program and attempted to paint all refugees as terrorists and security threats, Benach Collopy has continued the fight for human rights, including the right to seek asylum and protection from persecution. We are pleased to introduce our Clients of the Month for February 2017, Karla Duran and her six-year-old son Anthony.