Ana and her daughter Emily came to Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico Legal Services seeking assistance from our Citizenship program. Ana is a single, working mother who was born and raised in Las Cruces. When Ana became pregnant with Emily at the young age of 13, she was sent to Mexico to give birth through a midwife. Ana returned to the United States with Emily shortly after the birth, and continued living in Las Cruces. Although Emily, now 18 years old, had lived her whole life in the United States and dreamed of becoming a nurse, she did not have any legal status and had no formal birth record, which prevented her from enrolling in certain education and training programs. Our office assisted Emily in applying for derivative citizenship, whereby her mother was able to transmit her citizenship directly to Emily even though she was born abroad. Within several months, Emily received a certificate of US citizenship and is finally able to pursue a career in nursing. In a letter to our office, Emily said: “Thank you for all the support you have given me. I will always remember how much you have helped me. You have changed my life more than you know and I will always be grateful. May God bless you!”
Nathan, Lily, and Adam are three siblings who have been living on their own since their parents were deported seven years ago. The family was driving home from church in two separate vehicles one Sunday morning, when the parents’ vehicle was pulled over. The traffic stop led to an inquiry into the parents’ immigration status, and they were removed from the United States shortly after that. Since then, all three siblings have endured the emotional distress of being separated from their parents and have struggled to support themselves financially. Lily, the eldest, has a small child of her own and found herself in an abusive relationship. Nathan was constantly looking for jobs to help support the family, but found it difficult since he did not have work authorization. Meanwhile Adam tried to stay focused on his studies and was admitted to an accelerated high school program. All three siblings received free legal services from our Program: Lily obtained a U visa, Nathan was granted Deferred Action (DACA), and Adam became a permanent resident through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). They now live under protected status, and without fear of being separated from one another.
A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR
Through the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Eddy, was able to get a work permit and start his own business at age 18. Eddy is a graduate of Onate High School who lives with his parents and helps support them through the income he earns.
“This program gave me the help I needed to receive full citizenship when so many others couldn’t.” (Legal Services Program)