Love Endures

As we celebrate “Love Your Neighbor” this month, we happily share the news that Juan and Beatriz finally got married on December 23, 2015.  Three years ago, Just Neighbors helped Juan obtain a U-visa based on being the victim of a violent home invasion. Now, we are helping Juan obtain his green card.  Afterwards, he will be able to petition for his wife Beatriz. But Juan and Beatriz aren’t your typical newlyweds.

Their story begins in December of 1962 in El Salvador where they met at their town’s Christmas festivities. After two years of dating they wanted to get married but didn’t have enough money for a marriage celebration. They moved to San Salvador together and had five children.  In the mid-1990s, they were struggling to support their growing family, which now included grandchildren.   Two of their adult children came to the United States with the hope that they could find jobs and earn money to send back to their family.

On February 13, 2001, Juan and Beatriz’ home was destroyed by a major earthquake.  Juan decided to go to the U.S. in search of employment, with the hope of rebuilding their home in El Salvador. He ultimately decided not to return home because of the increasing violence there.  The rest of the family migrated to the U.S.  But Beatriz stayed behind to care for her ailing father.  She was able to obtain a visitor visa to the U.S. to visit Juan and her children periodically over the years, but in 2011 when she went to renew her visa, it was denied.  As a result, from 2011-2015 Juan and Beatriz remained separated.  In December of 2015, Beatriz was finally able to obtain a visitor visa again. She and Juan kept that good news to themselves, and surprised all of their children, their 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren with her arrival!

Their grand-daughter, also a client of Just Neighbors, told her attorney, “I love to see them together… I want to see them united forever.”

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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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