Raul was an elderly, disabled Cuban immigrant. Due to his condition, he was did not apply for citizenship within seven years, which the law requires in order to continue health and other benefits. Raul had been cut off from needed health benefits when he arrived at AI Justice. AI Justice obtained a 2-year extension of residency.
With the extension in hand, AI Justice succeeded in having a fee waiver granted because Raul was indigent. Raul’s physician had difficulty properly completing the medical waiver form needed, but, with AI Justice’s assistance, the documents were properly completed and the medical waiver request was approved so that Raul was granted citizenship without having to take the naturalization exam. He was therefore able to obtain needed benefits and is receiving the medical care he requires.
Osmil grew up in Cuba dreaming of being a doctor. However, to obtain a medical degree, he was required to join the Communist Youth Union, a situation encountered by almost all Cubans who aspired to become doctors.
Hoping to defect to the United States, Osmil joined a program that sent Cuban doctors to work abroad. He knew that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allowed Cuban doctors working abroad to legally fly to the United States to request residency. He applied for the program disclosing his past membership in the Union, and his visa was approved. Later, his residency request was denied due to the party membership. AI Justice successfully represented Osmil in overturning the USCIS decision. He is now
secure and has legal status.
“I taught film at the University of Havana and won several international awards for my films. I suffered terribly in Cuba because my documentaries addressed human rights issues. One of my works was chosen to be shown at the Miami and Havana film festivals. When in Miami for the festival, I learned this film had been banned in Cuba and my home and office had been ransacked. So I asked FIAC to help me get political asylum.”
“I am grateful to FIAC for the humanitarian way in which they handled my case. Professionally I can now express myself in a democratic country with freedom of the press. In 203 my film Cuba 100 years was awarded the best documentary special, and I received the Bronze World Medal at the New York film festival. It is extremely important that FIAC exists to help potential victims of human rights abuses like myself.”
Javier was granted asylum in 2004.
“I first heard about AI Justice during one of the worst moments in my young life. I had nobody else to turn to and was desperate for help. Through a friend I heard about AI Justice, and in less than 24 hours, they came to my family’s rescue. They helped with my sister’s situation and fought to get her released [from detention], and then they helped my family and me with our sudden deportation order.”
Brought to the U.S. as a child, in 2010 Kristina was enrolled in Miami Dade College with dreams of becoming a nurse. Then she was apprehended and detained by immigration authorities. After hearing about her case, AI Justice stepped in and successfully advocated for her release. Since then, AI Justice has represented her in immigration matters, including submitting a successful DACA application on her behalf.
Kristina said: “[AI Justice] not only helped, but also ultimately changed my life and the life of my family. I will forever be thankful.”
Shamir was 7 years old when his mother, fleeing persecution, brought him to the United States. Though she applied for asylum, her case was ultimately denied. He grew up attending school and dreaming of a career as a computer engineer. After graduating from high school, he attended Palm Beach State College but was forced to temporarily suspend his dream because he couldn’t afford to pay out-of-state tuition fees.
In October 2011, Shamir was arrested when the FBI raided a Miami car dealership that reportedly owed back taxes. Shamir, 25, had no involvement in any crime. Yet the FBI turned him over to ICE after he was unable to prove he had legal status, and Shamir was detained at the Broward Transitional Center. ICE denied the first request to release Shamir and grant him temporary relief from deportation. Fortunately, his sympathetic story inspired media attention. AI Justice submitted a legal brief asking ICE to reconsider its decision. He was released from detention within 24 hours.
"My time in jail was horrible. I had no idea what would happen to me, especially after their initial denial a few days after I was detained. Not knowing if you will be able to stay in the only country you know and love was unbearable. AI Justice saved my life. What they did – it’s a miracle. I really can’t express how thankful I am."