Estela*, originally from El Salvador, came to the last Just Neighbors rural program clinic seeking legal assistance to see if she qualified for any immigration status. In the past, she had met with a friend of her sibling who had filled out some immigration paperwork for her. Because she did not read or write, she had no idea what the paperwork was or what had happened to the papers.

After investigating her case and submitting a FOI request (Freedom of Information) on her behalf, her Just Neighbors attorney determined that this friend had actually filled out an application for asylum for her.  After finding that out, her attorney quickly filed a work permit application for Estela and helped her obtain her work permit. Estela was unaware that she even qualified for a work permit based on her previously-filed asylum application.  Estela now has a complete copy of her immigration file, including a copy of her asylum application that she did not know existed.

Estela will return to Just Neighbors in several months to renew her work permit as she awaits the adjudication of her asylum application, which likely will take years.

*Client name changed for privacy

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees, and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia; and, to build community among clients, staff, volunteers and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism.

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