All You Need is Love, but DACA Can Really Help

As a ten-year-old girl, Maria hardly remembers the day she crossed the border to the United States with her mother on their journey from Honduras. After settling in the New Orleans area, Maria quickly learned English and adapted to life in the United States. She attended Grace King High School, which she met her future husband, Jose, during her sophomore year.

Maria was excited to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) when the program was announced by President Obama in June 2012. USCIS granted and renewed Maria’s DACA status, thereby protecting Maria from removal from the United States and also providing her with a work authorization card, which in turn led to her obtaining a social security number and a driver’s license. In connection with her DACA status, Maria also applied to USCIS for advance parole so that she could visit her elderly and ill grandfather one last time in Honduras. Importantly, the advance parole allowed Maria to re-enter the United States legally after international travel, which was essential to Maria’s eligibility for her future application for a green card.

By the time Maria traveled to Honduras and back in 2016, she and her high school sweetheart, Jose, had married. Now that Maria could demonstrate her lawful entry into the United States via advance parole and had a U.S. citizen spouse petitioner, she became eligible to file a one-step adjustment of status case with USCIS. USCIS recently approved Maria’s application for adjustment of status (green card). In the meantime, Maria has graduated from high school and currently works as an English as a Second Language (ESL) educator at Phoebe Hearst School in Metairie, where she assists young people much like herself when she first arrived in the United States.

P+B Honored to Partner with TULAP to Support Tulane’s Immigrant Community

We are honored to have been selected as counsel to serve the immigrant community of Tulane University through its law school’s Tulane Legal Assistance Program (TULAP).

TULAP is a legal services program funded by the Tulane University Associated Student Body. It pairs Tulane law students with experienced lawyers to provide accessible legal advice and services to the Tulane community. TULAP provides free legal advice and low-cost representation to current Tulane University students, staff, and faculty. TULAP also provides free notarial services and information regarding legal rights. In addition, we will also provide an immigration-focused “know your rights” presentation at Tulane in March.

We look forward to working with the TULAP law students to make sure that all members of the Tulane community, irrespective of immigration status, feel welcome and supported on campus.

Here are some articles from the Times-Picayune and Tulane University discussing the addition of immigration to TULAP’s legal services:

Maycoll and Stephanie Look Forward to a Bright Future in US After Winning Asylum

Maycoll and Stephanie Mendoza fled to the U.S. in 2012, escaping a multitude of horrors in their native Honduras. This resilient brother and sister pair journeyed through Guatemala and Mexico mostly alone, two pre-teen children, seeking refuge in the United States. Immigration authorities apprehended Maycoll and Stephanie at the Texas border, and there began their struggle to win asylum in the United States.

The harm Maycoll and Stephanie suffered in Honduras over the years was vast, including attempted recruitment by gang members when they resided in the cities of Honduras and attempted recruitment by narco-traffickers when they resided in the remote Mosquito Coast of Honduras. The children also suffered additional forms of unthinkable harm that ultimately led to their grant of asylum.

Maycoll and Stephanie’s case was presented before the Immigration Judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and USCIS before they were granted asylum. Throughout the initial setbacks in their case, the children and their family never lost the courage to persevere. They have long been outspoken advocates with the local New Orleans Worker’s Center for Racial Justice / Congress of Day Laborers. Maycoll and Stephanie appeared together with their family in a New Orleans Advocate article addressing the tougher immigration enforcement policies implemented shortly after Trump’s election. Maycoll bravely spoke to the national media for an NPR All Things Considered story featuring his family’s situation in the era of Trump enforcement.

As for the future, Maycoll recently graduated from high school and is currently enrolled as a college student at the University of New Orleans (UNO). Stephanie is a junior in high school, with plans to study cardiology in the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with these outstanding, tenacious young people!

*This and all other featured client stories and photographs have been approved for publication by the clients.

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