I left Honduras, my home country, when I was just a teenager. There was never truly a home for me there. When I was very young, my father walked out on my family to live with another woman. My mother struggled financially on her own trying to feed her children. Left with no other option, she made the heart-breaking decision to embark on the dangerous trek to the United States to be able to provide for us.
While she was away, we were transferred to multiple family members’ homes where we lived with many different people. In that turbulent time, sadly, I endured emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from strangers and even family. We were also targeted and threatened by gang members because they found out my mother lived in the U.S. and was sending us money to survive in Honduras.
My home country was never safe for me and my siblings, and our only choice was to leave. In desperation to protect our lives, in 2014 my brother and I made the difficult choice to flee to the U.S.
Upon my arrival, I was detained by U.S. immigration agents and sent to a children’s immigration detention facility. Fortunately, I was later released to my mother who has taken care of me ever since. Because I was apprehended by immigration agents, I was placed in immigration court and was at risk of getting deported. I was scared and saddened that I would get deported back to Honduras.
My prayers were answered when my mother found the Tahirih Justice Center in Houston. They took on my case and finally I felt that I would be protected from having to go back to the abuse and violence that I escaped in Honduras. My attorney filed my Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Residency applications, but the immigration agency demanded that I provide additional evidence to support my applications. Despite submitting evidence demonstrating my eligibility, my applications were wrongfully denied. I was crushed. Tahirih immediately took action to appeal my case, but the Board of Immigration Appeals sustained the denial.
I lost hope, and I remember thinking that this was it, immigration was going to send me back to Honduras—back to the abuse and violence. But my lawyers stayed with me and never wavered. They fought ‘tooth and nail’ to overturn the denial, even putting together a litigation team in another city to file a federal lawsuit against the government for unlawful denial.
I waited almost five long years for my visa and green card. During those years, I became a mother of two beautiful children, and I kept thinking about what life would be like for me and my children if I returned to Honduras. I kept thinking that at any minute an ICE agent would come knocking at my door to take me away from my home—a stable home I built here, a safe place where I could finally rest and heal.
Then one day in September of 2020, I got the news that I had been waiting for…my denial was overturned. I won my residency, and I won my protection. My case was finally approved! The Tahirih Justice Center gave me hope, even when I thought it was not possible. They showed me that my fight mattered—that my life mattered and I would not get deported back to Honduras. Because of them, I no longer have to hide in the shadows, I no longer live with uncertainty, I can finally work legally and provide for my son and daughter— I’m home, I’m safe, I’m free.