When I arrived to New York, I was told that I must appear at Immigration Court and see a judge. Someone told me that I had to bring a lawyer, but I could not afford one. I was very nervous, but I knew I had to go to court that day. Before court, my cousin told me about Safe Passage and that they helped kids like me. He said to ask for Safe Passage in the Immigration Court.
I remember how nervous I was at that first court appearance. I had never done anything wrong and never been before a judge. That same day, Safe Passage attorney, Mr. Brian tole me he would help me and it really helped me relax. We had to go to about 4 or 5 Immigration Court appearances. Mr. Bryan, told me to stay calm – that I qualified for relief under US Immigration Law – and that he and Safe Passage would do their best to help me.
I met with the Safe Passage team a couple weeks later and told them my full story. It was very difficult to share things about my past, but I knew I had to. I told them about my history in Guatemala and they reassured me that they would do their best to help me.
In addition to winning my immigration court case, Safe Passage helped my uncle become my legal Guardian and also helped me receive my Legal Permanent Residence. I remember the day I went for my Immigration interview at 26 Federal Plaza. Again, I was very nervous, but my lawyers helped me remain calm. We had practiced for the interview and I felt ready. They day I received my green card – about 2 weeks later – I was so happy.
Safe Passage has been like an extended family to me. I have also made a lot of friends at Safe Passage. I love going to play soccer with my Safe Passage friends, like Nelson. The Safe Passage soccer group is so wonderful because it helps me make new friends and get to know people who have been through some similar things as me.
The Social Worker, Samantha is really wonderful as well. She has helped me get into school and balance supporting myself, while also helping me enroll in health insurance for the first time. I alsi want to thank Claire and Bryan.
I feel lucky to be in the United States and call New York my home. Now, I am in in school part-time and working to support myself – and playing a lot of soccer when I can.
Thank you to the whole Safe Passage family for everything you have done.