A New Chance

In their work for Just Neighbors, our attorneys spend much of their time working on behalf of their clients with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security that reviews applications for visas, green cards, and protected statuses, amongst other tasks. This office quite literally holds the fates of individual immigrants in its hands, as evidenced in the recent case of Rose Agu. After being abandoned by her husband in an unfamiliar country, Rose came to Just Neighbors in a fraught situation: she was alone, scared, and facing deportation. Rose had come to know her husband from his long-time friendship with her family. He was a U.S. citizen who worked for the government as a contractor, and they had married while he was stationed in Nigeria. After several months of living abroad, Rose’s husband petitioned on her behalf for a green card; she was granted a conditional one (valid for two years) on account of their marriage. They moved to the U.S., where Rose’s husband lived with her for a few months and then turned: claiming that he had to leave the country for work, he coerced Rose into signing divorce papers, then tried to have her deported before he left the country. By the time Rose turned to Just Neighbors for help, she was deserted and dependent for citizenship on the deserter himself.
With a Just Neighbors attorney, Rose applied for a modified green card that did away with the conditional status. Her case proved difficult, however, and USCIS requested further evidence and an interview. Anxious with fear but supported by our attorney, Rose recounted her story face-to-face for an immigration officer. The officer empathized with Rose, telling her, “I don’t like how your husband treated you, and I’m sorry on his behalf.” He then approved her application for a modified green card, adding that that he hoped she could forget about her husband and move on with her life. Overcome with emotion, Rose embraced the officer and her attorney, celebrating her new chance at a happy life.

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.

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