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 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.
Vanessa and Diego have always seen themselves as Americans. They were both brought to the U.S. from Mexico when they were very young. They grew up here. They went to school here. They met each other and fell in love here. They got married here, and they had their children here, Diego Jr., 6, and Carlos, 3.
Every person counts. That is why Stanford University Spanish Language Professor Vivian Brates and a group of her students partnered with IIBA to conduct outreach to nearly 1,300 people to ensure they have the help they need to overcome any barriers to completing the census.
IIBA's Napa office helped Gabriela obtain permanent residency through a petition from her daughter, who serves in the U.S. Navy. Now with more security and freedom to travel, Gabriela visited family she hadn't seen in almost three decades.
A father, detained by ICE, was reunited with his wife and young children with the help of IIBA staff
A few months ago, the International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), a participant in the North Bay’s rapid response network, was alerted that ICE had taken a father from his wife and young daughter and infant son. He was being detained without bond, placing him in detention and causing extreme financial stress for his family due to his loss of income.
With citizenship, Celedonio and Amanda have been able to travel more freely, taking medical missions to Nicaragua, where they chaperone medical and nursing students who provide aid in rural villages. There Celedonio uses his skills as a chemical engineer to teach communities about renewable energy.