The first thing you notice when you meet Mirian is her kind smile and upbeat attitude. What you might not know is the 10-year journey it took to her become a permanent resident after immigrating to the United States as a young girl.
Born in El Salvador, Mirian traveled to the United States alone at the age of 13 when her grandmother and primary caregiver passed away. She was able to reach her mom in Charlotte, where she now lives.
For Mirian, the possibility of getting a green card “…is a dream that every person like me is waiting for.” But she quickly learned that it was a dream that would take time, knowledge, and resources she didn’t have. Facing the immense barriers put in place by a complicated immigration system, Mirian contacted Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. From the moment the representation began, she knew it was the right decision.
“It’s an amazing place. You feel secure when you get there, and the people were all kind. At the beginning I didn’t speak any English, but you always had translators available. I felt at home.”
With the support of her family and her own determination over the years, Mirian was aided by Advocacy Center attorneys and obtained her permanent residency this past spring as a Special Immigration Juvenile. Mirian is not a lone statistic. Research has found that the probability of a positive outcome in an immigration case increases dramatically, from 5% to 95%, when an individual has legal representation. Most cases take years to resolve and hiring a private attorney can be cost prohibitive for immigrants and their families.
Reflecting on the experience, Mirian cannot help but be overcome with emotion. “[Without Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy] I think it would have been difficult for me and my family. If I had to go somewhere else, it would have cost a lot of money. My mom couldn’t afford it. I am thankful for everything you have done for me, everything you have done for my family.”
Now married with two wonderful children, Mirian knows having a green card has created the stability and security that she dreamed of when she came to America over a decade ago. “I don’t have to live in fear. I can live in peace and see my kids grow up.”
Planning to return to school to explore a career in real estate, Mirian is excited about the possibilities in front of her. “I see my future better than I did before.”