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.
It can be so hard to stay positive as an immigration attorney in times like these. Every day, we face new assaults from the president, the attorney general, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. This week, we learned that the attorney general is attempting to circumvent due process by telling immigration judges to reject asylum petitions without a full hearing if, upon initial review, they appear to be fraudulent or unlikely to succeed.
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.
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.
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 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.
My name is Jane Vukmer, and I am a third-year student at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. This summer, I worked as the Trans Asylum Fellow for Benach Collopy and Whitman-Walker. The Benach Collopy and Whitman-Walker legal partnership provides pro bono legal services to transgender asylum seekers who have been victimized, abused, tortured, and persecuted in their country of origin. I have had the great privilege to work on seventeen different asylum cases involving transgender women from Central America who fled their country due to persecution based on gender identity.
There are moments in life when the true nature of something is revealed in the fog. Sometimes, an object will only reveal itself slowly as the fog lifts. Other times the object shines brightly cutting through the fog with its clarity. For example, as the evidence of Russian interference and espionage in the 2016 Presidential election mounts, the true nature of the Russian government is becoming increasing apparent to many in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Ava Benach received the Fenner Award for Public Service from Whitman Walker Health Legal Services. She got it for doing what she does best– winning cases! The award recognizes the unique relationship that Benach Collopy has formed with Whitman Walker Health. Whitman Walker Health is the premier health care provider serving the LGBT community in Washington DC. Since its founding in the early days of the HIV crisis, WWH has expanded its services to provide more holistic assistance to its community.