SWLAW Blog | Future Students
December 8, 2022
Immigration Law Clinic Students Help Reunite a Guatemalan Family Separated for 19 Years
Please join us in congratulating Immigration Law Clinic (ILC) students Jesse Gonzales and Elmer Flores for their terrific work on a complicated consular processing matter for clients who resided in a small rural town in Guatemala.
ILC client, John,* was the victim of a vicious assault and robbery. Two men attacked John and left him unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk. John had a broken jaw and required surgery. He had two metal plates inserted in his jaw and spent several painful months recovering from his injuries. In the spring of 2015, John sought legal assistance from ILC and applied for a special form of immigration relief for survivors of violent crimes. Students prepared applications for John and for his wife and daughter, who lived in Guatemala. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved the case in the spring of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government office closures, the family could not complete the necessary steps to travel to the U.S.
This semester, Jesse and Elmer diligently worked on the consular processing application for John's wife and daughter. They recognized the family's long and painful separation and were determined to help reunite them by Thanksgiving. Jesse and Elmer researched the country-specific consular processing steps, navigated the U.S. Department of State consular systems, prepared their application packets, and scheduled appointments with the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. They conducted practice interviews and were available every step of the way during this process. We were thrilled to learn the visas were approved.
More than anything, Jesse and Elmer were moved to tears to hear how happy John was to learn about the approval and the prospect of being reunited with his family. On November 2nd, John reunited with his wife and daughter after 19 years. Elmer joined the family at the airport for this joyous occasion.
"Professor Ramos discussed the case and the tasks needed to reunite our client with his wife and daughter. I felt like I could relate to our client's situation from my personal experiences and was eager to make this reunification possible. Seeing our client with his wife and daughter made all our work gratifying. I cannot express in words how happy I am to be part of their story to finally get to see each other after so much time."
— Elmer S. Flores
Congratulations, Jesse and Elmer, on a job well done!
*Client’s name has been changed to protect his anonymity.