A Victory in Court...

January 25, 2019

 

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching VOLS Immigration Project Staff Attorney Molly Coe as she conducted a hearing that resulted in winning a SIJ predicate order for a 17 year old client from Mexico. The whole experience was so joyful and moving. Much anxiety, then tears, and then the biggest, most beautiful smiles, when custody and the SIJ order were awarded.

At age 15, our client came by himself to this country from a small town in Mexico to escape an abusive home situation. Imagine a trek at 15 to a place you have never been where you only know one person. Luckily for our client, he became friends with a schoolmate who invited him to stay with his family. Our client moved in and became so close to them, he was treated as a son.  The family wanted him to live there permanently, and the court agreed that his surrogate mom should have custody. Attorney Coe deftly and sensitively took our client through the story of his growing up and the reason he came to the United States. After hearing the details, the court also granted a Special Immigrant Juvenile predicate order, which enables our client to apply for a visa and permanent residence in the United States.

It is so easy to read the headlines and feel angry, and sad, and disbelieving of the position taken to build a wall instead of a supportive society in which people like our client get to flourish and contribute in so many wonderful ways to our communities. I felt so proud to be part of an organization that makes that possible. Felt so excited to be in New York State as our State Legislature passed the Dream Act, which will give all residents of New York State the opportunity to apply for financial support  programs for college, regardless of immigration status. 

A shout out to Molly and the whole VOLS Immigration Project for the great work they do every day. Earlier this week, Project Director Elizabeta Markuci, Molly, and Cecilia Cortés, Project Coordinator led a DACA Renewal Clinic with lawyers from Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and Bank of America.  The day after the Supreme Court deferred hearing the case of whether to keep the DACA program, VOLS enabled 10 more young people to retain the work authorization they need to support themselves and their families.

Small, but mighty – that is VOLS!! We are mighty because of the work, and our staff, and our many volunteers who make it all possible. 

 

 

 

Marcia Levy
Executive Director