LACLJ recently helped Melanie* and her children after nearly a decade of not seeing each other. Facing violent threats to her family’s safety, Melanie traveled alone to the United States from Central America nearly 10 years ago. In the United States, Melanie began dating and living with a man who eventually began to severely abuse her, even while she was pregnant with their child.

Melanie came to LACLJ, where our immigration team helped her file a U Visa petition, which was approved last fall. This allowed Melanie to petition for her children who were still living in Central America. Her children were especially vulnerable to gang-based violence and had stopped attending school because it was too dangerous to take the bus there.

Senior Attorney Michelle Carey and Legal Advocate Teresa Vargas Valdes communicated with the children while they were still in Central America to process their forms and coordinate their interview with the U.S. Consulate. As a result of LACLJ’s advocacy, the children finally reunited with their mother in the United States in June.

This was LACLJ’s first case that completed the consular processing to reunite a U Visa client with her children. LACLJ is one of the few organizations in Los Angeles offering this work at no cost. Today, Melanie is working and living safely in her own home with her children, who can now go back to school.

* Client’s name has been changed for confidentiality.