Alma left El Salvador in 2005 for the United States.
Alma left her home because of her family’s extreme poverty, and because gang and drug violence were changing her country. She felt that getting a job in the U.S. and sending money to her parents was her best chance of supporting them and her 18-month daughter, Dania, who was too young to make the dangerous trip with Alma. Originally, she only planned to work in the U.S. for a year or so, then return to her family with enough savings to move them to a safer neighborhood. As she tried to save money, dishonest people took advantage of her, and she realized she was trapped in a financial situation she could no longer manage. Then she met Tony, a U.S. citizen who was kind and who loved her. They were married, and life became safer and more comfortable. But no matter the distance, she called Dania regularly and missed her every day. She always felt deep guilt, but especially when her little girl cried for her to come home. Dania’s cries haunted her thoughts.
As Central America increasingly became violent due to drug trafficking, Alma needed help.
As the violence in El Salvador moved nearer to her family’s home, Alma realized she had to make a choice between her parents and her daughter. She could not return to El Salvador to move her parents away from the violence. She had to find a way to bring Dania to her. Tony, the step-father, was willing to help.
They contacted our southwest Iowa Managing Attorney, Gary Walters, who met the couple in 2015. He told them there was a possible opportunity to reunite mother and child. Gary helped Tony submit a petition and Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) application to bring Dania to rejoin her mother in the U.S. Gary helped file the paperwork with Immigration and the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. Alma’s parents took Dania to her interview at the U.S. Embassy, where she was given her LPR visa to travel to the U.S.
After 10 long years, Alma and Dania were reunited.
The day Alma picked up her daughter, she was overcome with joy and happiness to hold her daughter again. Although Dania, now nearly twelve years old, is finding it hard to adapt to the cold Midwest weather, she is no longer afraid to go to school. She enjoys learning history, she likes her stepfather, and she is especially thrilled to be with her mother again.