Keep in mind that all of this happened before the coronavirus outbreak as we are posting these a few month behind realtime. Just imagine the anxiety facing these families… then add COVID-19 to the mix.
Here is what Lucy had to say about a recent meeting with an attorney:
I am going with Maria to our third attorney today and I am filled with dread. The first attorney was too expensive and she said that we would lose no matter what. The second attorney was free and also said that we would lose no matter what. He (Greg) decided not to take the case because the other attorney in his office just left and he is overwhelmed. He referred us to the attorney that we will see today. One hundred and fifty for the consultation.
Greg also told us that we needed to get the deportation documents that Maria was given. He said there was almost certainly a “Do not try to re-enter for one year” clause in the documents and that if Maria disobeyed this, then she wouldn’t get 9 months in the US, but would rather be deported at the very first hearing. We just got photos of the documents yesterday, and (I’m not a lawyer) it looks like there are some pages missing. One of the pages says that she was granted asylum (obviously false) and another page alludes to some post deportation restrictions (missing page?).
Maria doesn’t yet have a court date but she also hasn’t been reunited with her daughter. Even if she is going to be deported, it is so important that she have some time with Julia to make a plan as a family. Maria has been trying to find her daughter for over a year and although she knows where she is, she isn’t able to get to her. This is so horribly unfair. I feel like my head is going to explode. Maria keeps everything inside, and although her voice sometimes cracks. She never cries. It is like she has been disappointed all of her life and this is nothing new.
(…after the meeting…)
I went into the meeting terrified. The attorney saw the same thing that I did on the papers, which is that they screwed up and have one page that says that she was granted asylum. We took him on as an attorney for low bono of $4000. He said, and I believe, that it is a more complicated than usual case. He agrees with everyone else that they will probably lose the case, but the wild card is Julia and whether or not the case can be wrapped up with her case. We were assigned the strictest of the three judges, and that is bad. He says that there will probably be a final judgement around October/November because this judge goes fast. Then there will be an appeal which can buy them another few months. If we could set something up in California, it would be better because the cases move more slowly there.
There is hope, but it is small.
Also, Maria’s counselor talked to me at Maria’s direction and told me the basic story of why they are here. I knew most of it. Julia is in very serious danger if she is sent back. Maria and Juan are in danger if they go back too, but they might be okay with a bit of financial help. They are definitely in danger, but they might be okay.