Recovery from Political Persecution

Joseph was only three years old when he heard loud noises outside of his house in Somalia. His home had been bombed, and the rest of his family had fled for their lives. When relatives came back for Joseph, he was severely injured and almost deaf. His parents were nowhere to be found, and Joseph’s extended family could not confirm whether they were alive or dead. Because of the imminent danger of remaining in Somalia, Joseph’s family members made him a false passport and sent him as a refugee to live with family friends in Holland.

When Joseph was 11 years old, he was reunited with his aunt, who was living in the United States. He applied for asylum based on the political persecution that his family suffered in Somalia. Fortunately, his case was approved, and Joseph was able to pursue the educational studies that his family had dreamed of for him.

When he was 24 years old, Joseph came to Just Neighbors for help in obtaining citizenship. A Just Neighbors attorney assisted him in completing documentation and preparing for the citizenship interview. Despite his nervousness, Joseph answered every citizenship question correctly, and his case was approved! Joseph’s success was bittersweet because his aunt had recently passed away. She would have been happy to see her nephew become a United States citizen.

Despite the difficulties of being hearing impaired, Joseph is now working a part-time job while pursuing a degree in Information Technology.

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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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