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Case Studies

At Pelton + Balducci, we believe that families should be together and that everyone deserves the chance to live their American dream.
We work with clients of all ages from all over the world to help them obtain the immigration status they seek and build their lives in the United States.
At Pelton + Balducci, we believe that families should be together and that everyone deserves the chance to live their American dream.
We work with clients of all ages from all over the world to help them obtain the immigration status they seek and build their lives in the United States.

Here are some of the amazing stories of our clients and what they have to say about their experience working with our New Orleans team.

“From day one the lawyers at Pelton + Balducci were always very patient with me and the rest of my family members. Rest assured this firm will do anything and everything in their power to help you through whatever legal process you may find yourself in. Not once did I feel I was not important.”

- Andres

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.

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, appearing in a New Orleans Advocate article and even NPR’s All Things Considered to address the tougher immigration enforcement policies implemented shortly after Trump’s election.

Maycoll recently graduated from high school and, with his newly-granted asylum status, is 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.

Sandra’s Journey to Support Her Family

New Orleans Immigration Lawyers - Pelton Balducci case studies

Sandra, her son Joel, and his daughter Sandra demonstrate the drive and strength of so many of the immigrants we are privileged to meet in our work. They have overcome significant obstacles—and dangers—to support each other in the pursuit of their dreams.

Rampant gang violence made it impossible for Sandra to earn a living in her home country of Honduras. As a single mother with no outside support, she faced the extremely painful decision faced by too many Central American parents these days: would she risk everything, including her life, to come to the US so that she could find a job that would help her to adequately feed, shelter, and educate her children?

As a survivor of crime who reached out to and collaborated with law enforcement against her abusive ex-boyfriend in the U.S., Sandra was able to apply for U nonimmigrant status (“U visa”). This is an important immigration benefit that protects immigrant victims of crime who report criminal activity. Through her U visa, Sandra was able to get work authorization and has been able to return to her entrepreneurial ways to become a part owner of La Cocinita food truck. She was also able to reunite with her children, Joel and Sandra, who are both in school. Sandra just started college, while Joel is working on his nursing degree.

Sandra’s Journey to Support Her Family

New Orleans Immigration Lawyers - Pelton Balducci case studies

“Pelton + Balducci is an excellent team. They are always there to assist us with any questions we may have. The best part is their experience and the trust that they give us. Thank you for helping me stay in this country.”

- Reina F.

Maria’s Success Story with DACA


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, where 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, which allowed Maria to re-enter the United States legally after international travel.

Then Maria and her high school sweetheart, Jose, 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, where she assists young people much like herself when she first arrived in the United States.

Linda's Journey in acquiring citizenship

Linda benefited from Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) that is available to certain noncitizen minors. It is a multi-step process that currently takes years. It requires a judgment from a juvenile court. This judgment must then be included in a petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If the petition is approved, the petitioner will generally be eligible for permanent resident status. There are very long wait times for green cards after the SIJS petition is approved; however, petitioners under 19 years old residing in Louisiana may be eligible for Medicaid while they wait.

Elvira Finds a Sense of Home Through Asylum

Elvira was born and raised in a small village in Honduras, terrorized by family violence. Their father routinely beat their mother. If she sought help from the police, they would tell her to go back home for the kids’ sake and to try to steer clear of her husband when he was mad. One of Elvira’s sisters was kidnapped, and she and several of her siblings were sexually assaulted by a family member. Although the Honduran authorities were aware of the incidents of violence and of the identity of the perpetrators, they did not get involved.

At 15, Elvira sought to flee the danger of chaos at home by trying to start her own family. Unfortunately, she wound up in an extremely violent relationship. Ultimately, Elvira’s abuser abandoned her and their daughters. Elvira found work, and she was able to support her daughters and herself and to buy themselves a home. The stability was short-lived, however, as members of some of Honduras’ infamous gangs began showing interest in and making demands of Elvira’s young daughters. Elvira knew that she and her daughters had to flee Honduras in order to be safe.

She sought refuge in the United States, where she finally found freedom from violence and a loving relationship. Pelton + Balducci were honored to file Elvira’s asylum application. Through her courageous testimony, Elvira proved that the domestic violence she suffered was past persecution. She was also able to show that she would suffer other serious harm if she were forced to return to Honduras. We are very proud of Elvira, who won her case and is now applying for permanent resident status.

Acquiring a T-Visa was the Step Danny Needed for Permanent Residency

Danny came to the United States on an E-2 Visa hoping to provide a better future for his family. Unfortunately, the visa was obtained by an exploitative employer that trafficked Danny and his fellow immigrant workers into the United States and subjected them to slavery. These immigrant workers were paid $3-4 per hour, often worked in excess of 100 hours per week, and were cheated out of their overtime. They were lodged in shabby apartments, and even retrofitted storage containers. If the workers complained or threatened to report the employer, they were threatened with deportation. Deportation would have been catastrophic, because many of these workers put up their life savings and property to pay for the opportunity to work in the United States.

When used appropriately, work visas allow U.S. employers to fill labor shortages, while giving immigrants a shot at work that would not be available to them in their home countries. At the same time, these visas give employers tremendous power over the immigrant workers they have sponsored. This is because the workers’ ability to remain in the U.S. depends on their working for the sponsoring employer. Quitting will generally mean being in the U.S. unlawfully without the ability to find another employer.

As a survivor of trafficking who was willing to report his ordeal to law enforcement, Danny was able to acquire a “T visa” (T nonimmigrant status), which provided him a path to permanent residency and the ability to petition for his son James. Their road to permanent resident status was complicated by USCIS, which had wrongly denied their green card applications. Our office successfully appealed the denials, and now Danny and James are lawful permanent residents. They are pictured here Danny’s wife Cathy and Marco. Congratulations Danny, James, and Cathy!

Acquiring a T-Visa was the Step Danny Needed for Permanent Residency

Brenda Defies Odds By Getting a Green Card Approved After Husband’s Death

Client Brenda - immigration lawyer new orleans

Originally from Guatemala, Brenda met her husband, Jose, shortly after her arrival in the United States in 2005. The two became inseparable and started a life together. Their son, Brandon, was born on September 8, 2008.  They purchased their own home in Metairie, LA in 2017 and were optimistic about their future plans. On March 8, 2019, Jose became a naturalized U.S. citizen. At the same time, he had started the process for Brenda to become a lawful permanent resident.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and both Brenda and Jose became seriously ill. Brenda was hospitalized before making a full recovery. Sadly, within months of Jose’s recovery from Covid-19, he suffered a fatal heart attack in the spring of 2021. As Brenda, her family, and friends mourned the devastating loss, they also started fearing what the future would hold for Brenda. Since Jose had petitioned for Brenda’s lawful permanent resident status, which remained pending at the time of his passing, all were concerned about the impact of his death on her immigration prospects. 

Historically in immigration law, when a petitioner in an immigration case passes away, the petition was automatically revoked, thereby leaving a widow to suffer not only the loss of their spouse but also endure banishment from the country. However, on October 28, 2009, a new provision was implemented to allow widow(er)s of U.S. citizens (as well as the children of the widow) to continue with their immigration petitions upon the death of their petitioner.

Relying on this immigration provision for widow(er)s, Brenda proceeded with a waiver of inadmissibility and consular processing in Guatemala, as she was not eligible to adjust status inside the United States due to an irregular entry and accumulation of unlawful presence. 

The USCIS, in adjudicating her waiver, considered the death of her U.S. citizen spouse, Jose, as the presumptive extreme hardship required for her I-601 waiver, which also qualified for an expedite. The U.S. consulate in Guatemala issued her immigrant visa and Brenda re-entered the United States as a lawful permanent resident, fulfilling her own and Jose’s dreams of achieving her lawful immigration status.

Contact our Louisiana immigration attorneys today

Give our team at Pelton + Balducci a call today at (504) 708-5400 to schedule a consultation. We will do everything we can to help you with your case. Everyone on our team is fluent in Spanish and will work with translators when necessary.

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