A Story of Hope
Veronica came to Just Neighbors four years ago, after her school’s parent liaison recommended she seek legal help for her immigration case. Just a couple months before, her ex-husband had hit her so her teenage daughter Ana called the police. That phone call changed everything. She was able to finally break free of her abusive husband who wasn’t just physically and emotionally abusing her but also using her as free labor.
For 12 years, Veronica’s ex-husband had controlled her and forced her to work without pay, creating graphic designs by night and working construction during the day while also taking care of her two daughters. Veronica describes working on the computer with her toddler, Sophia right by her side and having to keep going despite being exhausted after a day of working construction.
"I can’t believe it’s real, and I’m still trying to get my wits about me to even process what this will mean for me. I feel like God remembered me and all that I’ve been through and helped me get here. Cristina [Veronica’s attorney] has an immense capacity to help others, and I don’t have the words to express how much she has helped me and Ana."
When Just Neighbors took Veronica’s case, the attorney determined that she was eligible for a T-Visa, a special visa designated for survivors of trafficking. In Veronica’s case, she is not only a survivor of labor trafficking but also of domestic violence. Just Neighbors got to work on Veronica’s case and simultaneously was able to help her older daughter Ana apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Ana’s DACA approval came with a work permit that has allowed her to help support the family in addition to going to school.
After two years, Veronica’s T-Visa application was approved. She was granted a work permit that will allow her to seek employment and take some of the weight off Ana’s shoulders. In three years, Veronica will be able to apply for a green card and Ana will be eligible for one, as well.
Veronica and her girls have bright futures ahead of them after suffering so much trauma. Just Neighbors is honored to have been able to help them and looks forward to seeing all they do with their newfound sense of freedom and financial independence.