IIBA Clients: Vanessa and Diego

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. As far as they are concerned, California has always been their home.

Vanessa and Diego dreamed of buying a house, where their children would have a safe place to grow up. However, Diego’s undocumented status caused much uncertainty for the family.

When President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, Diego applied. Diego was one year old when he was brought to the United States. Through DACA, he obtained a work permit that enabled him to support his family and receive protection from deportation.

When he scheduled an appointment at the International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), Diego was determined to become a permanent resident, to obtain greater opportunities and more security for his family. IIBA helped Vanessa, a U.S. citizen, petition for Diego’s permanent residency.

Spouses of U.S. citizens can obtain permanent residency through consular processing, which requires traveling to one’s country of citizenship for an interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

Leaving his family to go to his interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez was heart-wrenching for Diego. Each night they were apart, Diego called his wife and sons, holding back tears, not exactly sure when he would be coming home. Both Diego and Vanessa knew they were risking a longer separation if his application were denied.

The good news is that Diego’s application was approved and Diego reunited with his wife and children. This is the difference that having access to high quality, low-cost immigration legal services makes. This is the difference that IIBA makes daily.

It is reassuring to know that, in some ways, the American Dream does still exist. As a permanent resident, Diego secured a union job in San Francisco. In August 2018, Vanessa and Diego purchased what they had dreamed about for so long: a home for their family.

IIBA is grateful to have worked with Vanessa and Diego so they finally feel secure in the country that has always been their home.

You can help support immigrant families like Vanessa and Diego’s family by making a donation to IIBA today.

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