Immigration is the second-most often mentioned area of underserved practice across our state.
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Teresa and her husband Diego came to the NC Justice Center seeking legal assistance with their immigration case. In 2005, Teresa made the arduous journey of migrating to the US, following her mother who had left El Salvador in 2001 due to a devastating earthquake that nearly destroyed the country. Diego and Teresa met in the U.S., where he was already working as housekeeper at a Marriott in Raleigh.

In addition to any persecution or other traumatic experiences immigrants and refugees may have suffered in their home country, many have endured a long and frightening journey to the US and are less likely to have documentation or the other resources they need to support their claims for legal relief.

A year prior to their case, Diego was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. When Diego contacted the NC Justice Center, he was only a legal permanent resident and given his diagnosis, Diego was determined to become a U.S. citizen to be able to petition for wife so that she could obtain legal status to support their three children financially in the event of his absence.

Our attorneys assisted Diego in filing his application for naturalization that same year, and once he became a citizen; we began the immigration process to file a family petition for Teresa based on their relationship of over 10 years. During this difficult time for the family, Teresa became Diego’s primary support. Despite numerous medications and extensive treatment plans, Diego passed away from cancer-related causes. A month before Diego passed away, Teresa’s family-based petition was approved, and we started the second part of the process for Teresa. We filed an application for an immigrant visa with the U.S. embassy in El Salvador, Teresa’s native country.

People migrate to find new opportunities, flee persecution, and seek safety and refuge. Legal representation is a lifeline when there are high-stakes consequences for all family members involved. High-quality legal assistance for low-income North Carolinians helps our community members survive and thrive in the place that they now call home.

Make a gift of $15 today to help us address the fear that immigrants face and the polarization our nation faces surrounding immigrant and refugee issues. 

Shortly after, we prepped our client for her interview and provided her with all the necessary documentation for that important day. Fortunately, our client was granted an immigrant visa by the consular officer and was able to return to her children in the U.S. after a month of waiting for her immigrant visa in El Salvador!

Unfortunately, the US immigration system is extremely complex, outdated, broken, and backlogged. It is a system that harms people who are seeking sanctuary and looking to build a better life. Legal representation often makes the difference between whether someone is deported to harm and permanently separated from their family or is allowed to remain safely in the US.

Thanks to you we can help people across North Carolina and strengthen the well-being of families regardless of where they live, who they are, and where they come from.