Abandoned by her Husband, Caring for Her Child

Esther, a young Nigerian woman, fell in love with a man while she was still living in her home country. He was an American citizen. They were married in 2014. Esther and her husband both wanted to live in the United States to start their family and eventually, they moved to the United States together. She obtained a conditional Lawful Permanent Resident Card (AKA “green” card) which is valid for 2 years. Esther became pregnant with their child shortly after arriving in the United States. Esther worked as a cashier to help provide for her family. Sadly, marital challenges began. Esther’s husband became verbally and physically abusive with her. He abandoned her after their baby was born and just as her conditional green card was about to expire. She received no financial support from her husband, nor would he help her update the green card. Without a new green card, she was unable to work or provide for their child. Esther believed she had no one to turn to.

Esther learned about Just Neighbors from a woman’s advocacy counselor as well as from a friend of her aunt. Both encouraged her to contact Just Neighbors for help. According to Esther, “Just Neighbors believed in me and gave me hope when I had no one to help me out. I was given an appointment immediately and met with immigration attorney Cristina and volunteer attorney, Elizabeth. They listened to me and picked out the best immigration options. Elizabeth helped me find documents that I didn’t know were important and helped me document all of my marital challenges. Just Neighbors made sure we met all of the deadlines for getting a new green card before it expired.”

With Just Neighbor’s help, Esther secured her Lawful Permanent Resident Card. It is valid for 10 years. Next step: Citizenship!

“I plan to further my education so I can better take care of and raise my son. I would love to join the Air Force and also give to women, immigrants, and people who have no one to turn to. I have been in that situation and I am very grateful I wasn’t stranded with my baby in a county I had never been to, but instead, I was assisted by Just Neighbors. My situation ended up being a success story.”

Post Citizenship Update – July 2020

Esther has been applying for jobs that offer better pay and benefits now that she’s a citizen. While she’s still considering the military in the future her main goal is making sure her young son in cared for. Esther is so excited that her son will be a citizen now as well and is hoping to start the process for her mom to join them here in the US. As a single mom this reunion would give Esther the extra support she needs to raise her son and consider more job opportunities.

Esther wants to share the following with the community.

“It had been challenging but Just Neighbors made it easy and gave me encouragement and support. One day I want to be able to help other people through Just Neighbors once I can earn more. It’s been very great. I didn’t even know I could get help and Just Neighbors really did help me. I am grateful to God for meeting Just Neighbors. Ms. Cristina and everyone there were a great help and really just helped me a lot.”

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and 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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