MCC photo/Krystal Klaassen

Rosa, (name not used for security reasons) laughs with new friend from West Coast MCC, Crystal Fernandez, Staff Associate for Immigration.  With the help of West Coast Immigration and Documentation program, her case was recently approved and she is able to remain the U.S. as legal permanent resident with all of her daughters.  

Reedley, Calif., — Life changed dramatically for Rosa, a 43-year-old mother of four daughters, in 2009. Her 14-year marriage ended when her husband was Rosa arrested and imprisoned for domestic violence, following an incident that nearly killed Rosa. While the violence and abuse was over, Rosa now faced the daunting challenge of providing for her children as an undocumented woman in the U.S.

Thankfully, the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee (WCMCC) Immigration and Documentation Program was there for Rosa and her family. With the help of WCMCC, Rosa and her two oldest daughters (all born in Mexico) were able to acquire U visas. U visas provide status to victims of abuse. This enabled Rosa to acquire a social security card, driver’s license, and a work permit. Thanks to these documents, Rosa found sufficient work to provide for her family.

Years later, WCMCC continues to assist Rosa with the application process for legal permanent residency.  Her case was recently approved and she is able to remain the U.S. as legal permanent resident with all of her daughters.  She is learning English and hopes to get her citizenship in five years

Since the late 1990’s, the WCMCC Reedley Immigration and Documentation Program has provided immigration documentation services to the community and education to constituent congregations about immigration issues.  In Upland, California the extension office also provides assistance with humanitarian visas and family-based immigration cases. The program is recognized by the United States Board of Immigration Appeals. 

“It’s a beautiful place,” Rosa says.  “They are good people and offer good help.  They will guide you to do whatever you have to do to be ok.”

Her daughters are thriving because of Rosa’s triumphs and this visa. Her eldest is studying Molecular Environmental Biology at UC Berkeley in California.  Her second is studying psychology at Reedley College.  Her autistic daughter is receiving medical care from a partner of MCC.

I am so thankful for everyone who supports the program because it is definitely impacting families and individuals,” says Rosa.

“It’s a blessing to help others,” says Crystal Fernandez, who works as a Staff Associate for Immigration in the Reedley office.  “I have my own immigration story.  I know the struggles that families go through….this is a calling for me.” She has approximately 60 open cases that she is working on.

* (name withheld for security reasons).