A year and a half ago, the Social Workers in our East Bay Family Preservation Program met Alicia, an undocumented immigrant mother living in Oakland with her four children. Alicia was struggling with everything from housing to how to find a dentist for her children, and her undocumented status meant she was afraid to do simple things, like visiting her children at school, or making a police report when her car was vandalized, for fear of being deported. She lived in a constant state of fear, knowing her children, who were born here, would be left behind if she was deported.
During the initial intake with Alicia, our Social Workers collected as much information as they could. Like many mothers who come to us, Alicia is a survivor of domestic abuse. She left her partner years ago, in order to protect her children. When asked about her experience, Alicia’s Social Worker learned that Alicia’s former abuser was a U.S. Citizen, and that a police report had been filed. What Alicia, and most of our clients do not know, is that this combination means that Alicia was eligible to apply for a U-Visa!
Alicia is now one month away from receiving her U-Visa. This visa will allow her to stay in the United States legally, to have a job, to apply for scholarships for school to finish her education, and to apply for public benefits if she needs them. After three years, she can apply for a Green Card, and then apply for United States citizenship. Alicia is no longer afraid to visit her children at school. She told our Social Worker,“ I can go to the classroom, I can go on the field trips, I can be a part of their school lives. This is unbelievable. ” She is free to be the mother she has always wanted to be. With just a little bit of support, Alicia and her children are ready to put aside their fear, and start a new chapter in their lives. Alicia thanked the Family Preservation Program, saying “I don’t have enough words to thank you for all the things you did for me and my children. God Bless you – you have changed my life!”
*Names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.