November 3, 2022
In collaboration with Americans for Immigrant Justice’s pro bono program since 2017, Adriana Riviere-Badell – named Americans for Immigrant Justice's Pro Bono Hero – led a team to represent child siblings from Guatemala who had been orphaned, and their hard work and dedication has led to the first of the children’s green cards coming in a few weeks ago.
Speaking to the organization, Ms. Riviere-Badell said when she first learned of the case in 2017, “I was touched by their story and knew how crucial it was for the family to have pro bono assistance, given how challenging it can be to navigate through the U.S. court system and government agencies without proper legal representation.” The team first secured custody for a U.S. citizen family member of the children, “a big step in ensuring the children’s safety and well-being,” before filing for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status so the children can obtain legal immigration status and their green cards.
Throughout the process, Ms. Riviere-Badell emphasized, “we did everything we could to help the children feel comfortable as they adjusted to their new lives in the U.S. while still grieving for their parents.” She added, “All of our team members are fluent Spanish speakers, several of which had emigrated to the U.S. themselves and were able to share their own personal experiences with the children. While many of our meetings were held at the family’s house, we also invited them to our office for holiday celebrations. I will always remember the children’s faces light up with joy each time we sat down together for a meal!”
When the first green card arrived, “we celebrated together,” Ms. Riviere-Badell said. “This is exactly the kind of work we should be doing as pro bono lawyers,” she adds.
The team also included Gabriela Ruiz, Victoria Morris, Trey Murphy, Andrea Romero and Hans Mahecha, who were assisted by the firm’s Pro Bono Director Amy Rossabi.
Click here to read the full article on Americans for Immigrant Justice’s website.