The Story Behind My Immigration Law Practice
I started my career as a nutritionist working for the Peace Corps in Ecuador in a rural village in the Andes mountains. At that point, I had never even thought about becoming an immigration lawyer because I didn’t realize how much lawyers can help people – and that they aren’t all mean and argumentative like the ones on TV.
When I came back to the US, I met my future husband, Marcial Corado, at a salsa party on New Year’s Eve. We had our first date a couple of days later, and we realized pretty quickly that we were meant to be together. We got married later that same year.
Marcial was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and before we met, he had unfortunately paid a notario to “help” him file immigration papers. He did not realize at the time how dangerous it was to rely on someone who was not a qualified immigration lawyer. The notario did not know what she was doing, and the case that was filed did not help him. In fact, it made his situation much, much worse – he was issued a deportation order.
Marcial and I visited 3 different lawyers to find out if there were any way that Marcial could live legally in the United States despite his deportation order and time living in the United States undocumented. A good immigration lawyer would have told us that we could apply for waivers to try to fix his situation. However, we unfortunately did not get good advice. Two of the lawyers we spoke with said that Marcial’s case was hopeless. The third one told us we should live outside of the United States for 10 years in order to get back in legally!
We believed living abroad for a decade was our only option, and decided we would do whatever it took to fix our immigration situation. We couldn’t stand the stress of undocumented life anymore! We sold our belongings and moved to Guatemala with our baby daughter, Lena. We found a place to live in Antigua, Guatemala and tried to make it our home.
Only a few months after we arrived in Guatemala, Lena got sick. We took her to the doctor, and the doctor gave us terrible news – Lena had leukemia! Her life was in danger and she needed to start treatment immediately. I took Lena back to the United States on the next available flight. Marcial had to stay in Guatemala because he had no way to legally enter the United States. Marcial, Lena, and I were brokenhearted that we had to be apart from each other. When I kissed Marcial goodbye at the airport, I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw him again. And even worse, I knew he might never see Lena alive again.
At the hospital in the United States, Lena started a painful chemotherapy treatment that would last for 6 months. I took care of her around the clock and slept in a chair by her hospital bed. She asked for her “papa” over and over again, and I had to tell her, “Papa loves you SO much, and he will be here as soon as he can,” even though I knew that Marcial might never be able to come to the hospital.
A friend of the family suggested consulting with another immigration lawyer – one who had a reputation for doing good work. The lawyer said that there was a possibility that he could get Marcial back into the country, but it would be a difficult and expensive case. I hired the lawyer on the spot. I knew that getting Marcial back was the most important thing to me, and I wanted it done right this time.
4 months later, we got wonderful news – Marcial was going to be allowed to enter the country on a temporary, emergency type of permission called humanitarian parole! The day he came back to the United States was the best day of our lives.
A couple of months later, Lena finished her treatment successfully. She is now a normal, healthy kid. Marcial later became legal permanent resident and is now a proud US citizen. And I became an immigration lawyer dedicated to keeping families together in the United States by helping them through the difficult immigration process.
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