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Updates From Our Immigration Attorneys in New Orleans, LA

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.

Important Information for Central American TPS Holders

Please note that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that all Nicaraguans and Hondurans who wish to maintain their Temporary Protected Status (TPS), MUST re-register between December 15, 2017 and February 13, 2018. Although the re-registration dates are the same, please note that there are very important differences.

First, USCIS has announced that TPS for Nicaragua will be terminated on January 5, 2019. THERE WILL BE NO SUBSEQUENT RENEWAL OF NICARAGUAN TPS.

Second, USCIS has not made a final determination as to whether to continue Honduran TPS. As a result, Honduras’ TPS designation has automatically been extended through July 5, 2018. However, the status of Honduran TPS Holders WILL NOT BE EXTENDED AUTOMATICALLY. Individuals currently holding Honduran TPS MUST RE-REGISTER between December 15, 2017 and February 13, 2018. Otherwise, they will lose their status. Unfortunately, their extension will only be valid until July 5, 2018. However, USCIS has indicated that it is automatically extending the validity of employment authorization documents issued under Honduran TPS until July 5, 2018.

The longterm future of Honduran TPS remains uncertain. USCIS is required to make a decision by May 6, 2018.

We are still awaiting a decision on the future of Salvadoran TPS.

Schedule a consultation with us today if you are interested in discussing the extension of your TPS or exploring alternative immigration options.

Dreams Do Come True!

Meet Sandra, Joel, and Sandra our featured clients!

Sandra, her son Joel, and 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.

Sandra had had a good life as a grocery store owner in her native Honduras. Unfortunately, the early to mid-2000s witnessed the birth of the devastating crime epidemic that plagues Honduras to this day. Rampant gang violence made it impossible for Sandra to earn a living. 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 remain in Honduras to be close to her children, but watch them struggle through poverty and violence? Or would 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? Although it broke her heart, Sandra came to the US and placed her children with family members.

Although Sandra found work, her troubles were not over once she came to the US. She met a boyfriend who subjected her to extreme domestic violence. Although she left him, he stalked her relentlessly for years, threatening to have Sandra deported or killed. The psychological torment was extreme, and Sandra took great pains to avoid him, relocating and finding new jobs. Ultimately, the man was arrested and Sandra assisted in his prosecution.

As a survivor of crime who reached out to and collaborated with law enforcement, 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. She began working in La Cocinita food truck, and she has been able to return to her entrepreneurial ways to become a part owner of La Cocinita. La Cocinita serves up delicious Latin flavors throughout New Orleans, and now La Cocinita plans to open a restaurant in Chicago!

Sandra was able to reunite with Joel and Sandra, who are both in school. Sandra just started college, while Joel is working on his nursing degree. It has been a true privilege to work with them and to watch them fight for and live their American Dream. Congratulations Sandra, Joel, and Sandra!

And check out La Cocinita grin


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