AFTER DECADE APART, FAMILY REUNITED FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Prisila Reyes is a national of El Salvador who has been separated from her children for over 10 years. During her years in that country, she had three children with a domestic partner who abused her repeatedly and severely. She finally fled to the U.S. after years of that abuse. Subsequently, Prisila had to make two unexpected trips home – the first trip was to ensure her son, who was very ill, got proper medical care and the second trip was to make living arrangements for her children, as her sister could no longer keep them. After her second trip, Chapman Law Firm helped Prisila file for asylum once she was here. After her trial, the Immigration Judge confirmed he found her to be credible. However, months later, despite overwhelming evidence at trial of the abuse she had escaped, the Immigration Judge denied her claim, primarily on the basis that during both trips, she had managed to avoid her domestic partner by hiding during her entire stay (i.e., living in an unnatural state of secrecy).
After the case was denied, ICE gave Prisila an Order of Supervision, which allowed her to stay in the U.S. temporarily. During the time she was allowed to be here under that Order, she was the victim of an armed robbery at the restaurant where she worked. On that basis, we filed a U Visa case for her, which USCIS ultimately granted. Once USCIS approved Prisila for U Visa status, her three children (still living in El Salvador) filed for U-3 derivative visas, as qualifying family members. Those cases dragged on for months due to the economic shutdown in El Salvador caused by COVID-19, but they finally received their U-3 visas about two weeks ago. As soon as they could, they flew to the U.S. to reunite with their mother after a separation of over 10 years. The picture you see was taken at the Triad International Airport here in Greensboro on November 25, 2020. None of them could speak for several minutes; they just sobbed uncontrollably.
Chapman Law Firm has been privileged to represent Prisila throughout her case. She has been reliable, responsive and truthful throughout her ordeal, and it is clear that her faith in God has carried her through many dark days, both in El Salvador and in the U.S., while her cases were being processed. She even has fed everyone in our office a number of times with a lunch of homemade pupusas (the standard meal of Salvadorans). She now has been reunited with her children, whose safety and futures have been uppermost in her mind throughout her long and painful journey. We thank Prisila for letting us help her and her children, and we hold her up as an example of why people like her should be given the benefit of the doubt when testifying in their asylum cases.