We are thankful for pro bono volunteers like Natalie Camastra, an associate with O’Melveny & Myers (pictured), who recently obtained an important victory for one of LAFLA’s torture survivor clients.
Her client fled El Salvador with her family when she was 15 years old – having suffered persecution at the hands of government officials there, as well as sexual abuse by Mexican authorities on their way to the U.S. By the time her father was able to secure legal status under the NACARA program, which allowed certain Salvadorans who had fled violence and poverty in their homelands to remain in the U.S., the client could no longer qualify as derivative child. She tried later to apply for legal residency after she married her husband, a U.S. citizen – but she was unsuccessful.
Natalie shares how she and the LAFLA team helped the client finally gain residency:
On March 11, 2020, mere days before United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) reduced operations in light of COVID-19, we received the welcome news that the agency had approved our client’s application for adjustment of status and granted her Lawful Permanent Resident Status (Green Card). This successful result ended our client’s 12+ year effort to change her status from Temporary Protective Status (El Salvador) — a status which is in legal limbo due to efforts to terminate the program — to that of Legal Permanent Resident.
Working alongside LAFLA’s skilled immigration practitioners, Senior Attorney Daliah Setareh and Special Counsel Michael Ortiz, I gained greater experience with client communication, fact development, and analyzing the many developments in immigration law that can impact a long-running case. It is tremendously rewarding to directly and positively impact a life, particularly in the immigration field, where the need for legal services is so great and the political climate is so challenging.
I thank LAFLA for the opportunity to assist on this matter and for guiding me along the way. I also want to congratulate our client and wish her all the best as she begins a new, secure, and safe chapter of her life.
Volunteers like Natalie make it possible for LAFLA to extend our reach and help as many vulnerable community members as possible.
To learn how you can make a difference, consider making a donation to LAFLA. You can also visit our volunteer page for information about our volunteer programs or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a specific pro bono opportunity.