Zulema accessed emergency legal aid and averted deportation for herself and her family. We met Zulema through our online community for formerly detained mothers. She asked us for help after discovering she had an upcoming hearing date in Minnesota, a 20 hour drive away from her home in Virginia. Zulema had informed ICE officers in Minnesota about her move, and successfully transferred her ICE appointments to Virginia. But like many asylum seekers, Zulema was unaware she had to file a separate application with the immigration court to change her address and as a result, had her hearing scheduled in a state she no longer lived in. Missing her hearing would have led her and her daughter to receive a deportation order for not appearing in court.
Staff at the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) stepped in to provide emergency legal assistance and prevent Zulema’s deportation. Within two days, we had prepared a motion for Zulema to request a change of venue. Just days before the hearing itself, we confirmed that the change of venue was approved.
With staff working remotely, we also helped Zulema prepare an asylum application before her deadline. We guided her through the process of filing this application in court, and Zulema successfully submitted it.
After filing her asylum application, Zulema became eligible to apply for work authorization and reached out to us again through the online community. ASAP was able to help both Zulema and her partner Ruben submit their applications for work authorization, and both were granted!
Zulema shared the following about her experience: “I am so grateful because ASAP has helped me so so much and not just me but my daughter and my partner as well. We are here alone in this country, without any family or friends. But God puts beautiful people in our journey. We never imagined we would feel safe here and be able to work, to support our daughter. We achieved this miracle because of ASAP. They have been so kind to us and and I have no way to thank them, but I hope that God blesses them for this work, every day for the rest of their lives.”