Kali Cohn Uncategorized

Wrapping Up 2021 with Joy

Sometimes gratitude is a practice to keep our minds strong in trying times. And sometime gratitude is a means to celebrate. This new year, we’re shouting from the rooftops in joyous celebration! December at HRI was bountiful with generosity from our community and long-awaited answers from immigration.

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In December, our legal team was thrilled to open the mail to find eight green cards for kiddos. Their applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status had been approved back in 2016, but they were waiting in yet another line until they were allowed to apply for their work permits and green cards this year. Some of these kiddos are now young adults in their 20s. These green cards mean they finally have what they need to apply for jobs and federal funding for college.

Two pro bono teams, mentored by our Children’s Program team, worked hard to get these youth out of immigration court so that they could get their green cards applications on file earlier this year. These cases demonstrate the critical difference Executive immigration policy makes. Instead of sitting for another two or three years (like we’d seen under the previous administration), their green cards were approved in about six months.

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In December, our Crime Victims Program also opened the mail to three U Visa grants! These had also been long-pending since 2016, mired in the years-long wait for protection under the U Visa program. Each year, only 10,000 U Visas are granted across the entire country, with a backlog of over 170,000 pending applications. These survivors now have status that qualifies them to work and eventually apply for their green cards.

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Across the highway from our offices in immigration court, Dallas Immigration Judges granted asylum for two HRI clients. Our Rwandan client, whose case was originally heard in 2016, had been reset and reset again because of an interpretation problem. Finally, five years later, she knows she can stay safely in the US. Our Congolese client had applied for asylum in 2016 and did not learn until 2020 that she would be forced to litigate her case before immigration court. Because of her phenomenal strength testifying last month, she too can remain safely in the US. We’re so grateful for their pro bono teams at Jones Day and Weil, Gotshal & Manges for helping them see justice in court.

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Meanwhile, our Social Services team closed the year spreading holiday cheer. This year, we combined our annual Holiday Clothing Bazaar and Holiday Wish program into one. Our team was thrilled to welcome folks at the HRI office to pick-up holiday gift cards and peruse racks of clothes, bedding, kitchen items, and school supplies. The pandemic continued to limit a big celebration, but the festivities ensured nearly 50 households, representing over 200 people, had some additional support to celebrate the season.

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Our community made these wins possible, and for that we are humbled, honored, and grateful. THANK YOU for joining our efforts. THANK YOU for always showing up. THANK YOU for your constant support.

Cheers to a remarkably joyous December. We look forward to what the new year brings.

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#ImmigrantRightsAreHumanRights #Advocate #Donate #Educate #Volunteer #AsylumIsLegal #WelcomeWithDignity #WeAreHome