A Family Reunion
Carmen Fierros couldn't be happier to have her boys, now grown men of 18 and 22, in her arms again. The singular determination of Teresa Cruz, a senior paralegal in Public Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project, made it possible for the Fierros family to be reunited this spring after 10 years of separation.
Carmen came to the United States in search of a better life. She was forced to leave her two young children with her mother in Mexico because she couldn't afford to bring them to the U.S. Shortly after her arrival, Carmen fell in love and married a U.S. citizen, with dreams of starting a life together with her new husband. Unfortunately for Carmen, her dream became a nightmare. Her husband became physically abusive, and when she was four months pregnant, he attacked her. Even though Carmen was afraid of her husband, she reported the attack to the police. Her husband was arrested and convicted of domestic violence.
Public Counsel helped Carmen to apply for a U Visa, a visa made available to crime victims who assist law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of a crime. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved her U Visa application and also granted derivative status to her children in Mexico. Cruz coordinated with the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico to ensure that Carmen's sons received their visas to enter the country legally. "It's a dream come true," said Carmen. "Having my sons with me is the greatest gift I've ever received. Thank you Public Counsel."