When President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, over 700,000 young people who had been brought to the United States as children could finally realize their dreams. DACA provided work authorization and protection from deportation, fundamentally changing the lives of these youth, including Jorge.
We are excited to announce the launch of IIBA's new photo series, "Heart of IIBA," a celebration of our clients, staff, and volunteers. We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the incredible people who embody the diversity and inclusivity that make up the heart of the Bay Area, and who are at the heart of IIBA's work.
IIBA opened our Napa office in 2013. Since then, 1,300 individuals have become citizens. In 2013, IIBA Napa was a staff of one. Today IIBA Napa is a staff of nine. Since 2013, 6,350 legal consultations have been provided to immigrants and their families, 102,000 individuals have been educated on their rights, and 620 students have enrolled in citizenship classes.
In 2014, Maria and Roberto finally arrived in the Bay Area to live with family after waiting sixteen years in El Salvador for their green cards to be approved. Maria and Roberto, who have been married for 41 years, came to the United States for safety and opportunity.
In the late 1980s, Jamie fled El Salvador during the country’s devastating civil war, seeking safety in the United States. Around the same time, Yolanda came to the U.S. from Mexico. They first met in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class here in the Bay Area, nearly 30 years ago. They fell in love, got married, and had a baby girl.
Imagine the United States is the only country you have ever known, but daily you fear you might be forced to leave. Imagine living with that insecurity, yet still moving forward in full pursuit of your dreams, determined to make a difference.
Fleeing violence and poverty in her rural town in Guatemala, Santos came to the United States in search of a better life for her family.In Oakland, California, Santos sought the help of the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA). IIBA’s Legal Staff helped her apply for humanitarian relief, and she was granted a U Visa due to the abuse she had endured at the hands of her ex-partner.
Octavio Perez came to the United States from Mexico in his early twenties, in search of opportunity. For nearly thirty years, he has built a life for himself and his family in Napa, where he works for Duckhorn Vineyards.
One of Catherine’s first jobs in immigration was at the International Institute in 1991. Now with nearly thirty years of experience in immigration law, she’s returned to IIBA as Legal Director, mentoring IIBA staff as they take on deportation defense cases.
Graciela and her two young daughters, Julianna, 12 and Bethenny, 6, waited anxiously at San Jose Airport in August 2017. Efrain, Graciela’s husband and the daughters’ father, had left the country a week earlier to complete his interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to become a U.S. permanent resident.