Hundreds of people are impacted every year by the generosity of San Antonio Region Justice For Our Neighbors donors. The financial donations we receive allow us to provide high quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers looking for safety inside the borders of the United States.
Each client story is different but they all seem to have a common thread: HOPE. By receiving free and low-cost legal services from SARJFON, our clients are given HOPE. Hope for a safe future, hope for stability and hope of becoming a legal resident.
HOPE is given through your financial donations. Your generosity shows our clients that someone cares. Someone values their life and sees them as important. For many clients this is the first time they have felt HOPEFUL.
Thank you for being a beacon of HOPE for our struggling neighbors.
Stories of how your donation provides hope.
Story of the Week
A Dance of Freedom and Celebration
Désirée taught dance in her small town in Cuba. She encouraged her students to be creative and express their beliefs. She led by example and often spoke out against the stifling of creative and artistic freedoms by the communist regime. One day Désirée realized she was being followed by a police officer. Shortly thereafter he approached her and told her to stop speaking out, to stop participating in anti-totalitarian groups. When she didn’t listen, his harassment got worse. He called her at home and then began to hit her when we saw her on the street.
When his tactics didn’t work, other police officers began detaining her. The first tie, she was stripped naked and kept in a cell for five hours. The second time, she was beaten with a rubber baton for hours upon hours. The third and last time she was locked in a car with two officers who beat her for hours.
Désirée didn’t want to leave her homeland of Cuba. She had plans to visit a friend in Norway and debated if she should still go. During the last beating the police officers told her they knew about her planned trip and advised her to not return if she left. They told her if she dared show her face in Cuba again, she would disappear.
Désirée went on her trip to Norway and on the way home decided returning was too risky. She stopped in Mexico and decided to seek asylum in the United States.
Désirée arrived in Mexico in April and presented herself at the US-Mexico border just three days later. She was told by U.S. Immigration Officers that she could not apply for asylum immediately but had to wait her turn in line.
Almost four months later, Désirée was finally allowed to apply for asylum. She was forced to continue her wait in Mexico for her hearing date. The poor sanitary conditions kept Désirée sick most of the time she waited. She wasn’t sure she would live long enough to make her case. She watched families lose children to kidnappers, she witnessed people being robbed and beaten. She watched police extort money from others waiting. She heard horrible screams of woman and children being raped. She wasn’t sure what was worse – staying here or returning to her death in Cuba.
Just when she had almost given up hope, Désirée finally was able to make her case in immigration court in early January. SARJFON’s legal team had everything in order to prove to the judge this case was eligible for asylum – even though new orders in place would have prevented Désirée from seeking asylum in the U.S. if she hadn’t sought it in other countries first and to help Désirée prove the merits of her case.
The judge was convinced. Asylum was granted! Désirée is now living without fear with her father in the United States. She hopes to teach dance again soon and encourage her students to be grateful for the right to speak your mind and feel safe in the United States.
Without the financial support given by Friends of SARJFON, Désirée would never have been able to afford legal representation. Her case involved multiple regulation changes and it would have been impossible for her to navigate the system without a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate. Thank you for giving Désirée a chance to dance again!
Names and likenesses have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.