[Please note: The Client’s name and case key details may have been altered to preserve the identity of the client. This Success Story is not intended to be an offer of service or case plan. Every case is unique. The Success Story is presented for information purposes only.]
From early 2020 to December, Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. Wong’s Cleveland team had the pleasure of working with a charming family named Contreras who had immigrated to the United States from Venezuela and had been granted U.S. citizenship several years prior.
That is, everyone except Mercedes who was the beloved mother of Gabriel, mother-in-law to Gabriel’s wife, Charyl, and the grandmother of their several children including Cris, a young lady in her late teens, who adored her grandmother and was closest to her.
To be sure, Mercedes, a woman in her late 70’s, often flew to the United States to visit her family and was continuously implored by them to re-settle here but Mercedes was reluctant to leave the land where she had lived her whole life although she loved Northeast Ohio especially around Christmastime when there was sometimes snow but rarely on Christmas day which was a disappointment because Bing Crosby’s recording of “White Christmas” was a favorite of hers and she wanted to experience it.
During her visit in 2019-2020, however, Mercedes agreed that it was time for her to leave Venezuela due to the political and economic turmoil that her country was experiencing. Certainly, the whole family was overjoyed and Cris, well-aware of our reputation, suggested that Mercedes go to the offices of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. Wong to ensure that that proper protocols pertaining to immigration were observed, a motion that Gabriel immediately seconded and, soon afterwards, Mercedes became our client.
One of the first things that our team did was to instruct the Contreras family to complete an I-944 Form (Declaration of Self-Sufficiency) to ensure that Mercedes wouldn’t become a “public charge” by having to rely on public benefits. Fortunately, Mercedes planned to live with Gabriel and Charyl thus making her part of a household which worked to her advantage with USCIS although this meant that the couple, who both worked, had to fill out a lot of forms pertaining to their assets and liabilities to ensure that they could provide for their elderly relative.
Moreover, they had to investigate obtaining health insurance for Mercedes which was quite expensive due to her advanced age. Thankfully, though, Cris took on the project and made sure that everything that the Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. Wong team sent to her family was filled out in its entirety and properly executed. Cris even contacted quite a few insurance providers and read over the policies in their entirety to be sure that her grandmother would be properly covered for the best possible price.
In June, due to Cris’ commitment and hard work, we were able to file the I-944 package as well as an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) wherein Gabriel sponsored his mother and an I-485 (Application for Legal Permanent Residency).
In addition, we filed an I-765 (Application for Employment Document) because Mercedes, who was quite adept at sewing, was considering opening her own small business to contribute to household expenditures and her insurance costs. Along these lines, she proved to our team that she could brew a mean cup of South American coffee and wanted to try selling it at summer festivals once Covid-19 was under control.
One thing that we didn’t have when we filed was the necessary police records/report of criminal activity from the Venezuelan government pertaining to Mercedes so we were not surprised when received a notice from USCIS informing us that this was necessary before the I-485 could be properly processed.
Of course, Mercedes had always been a law-abiding person, but she feared that those in the Venezuelan government would prove to be uncooperative since she had singled several human rights petitions over the years taking stands that opposed the policies being implemented. Even she had not been targeted, the governmental bureaucracy was so staggering that long delays in processing requests were quite common.
But, on this matter, Mercedes, guided by Cris, was able to contact a dignitary who frequented the same church in her homeland that she used to attend. As it turned out, he proved to be quite a gentleman and promised to do what he could to make sure that the proper paperwork was sent to her in the United States ASAP.
Moreover, the dignitary even offered his assistance in gathering up Mercedes’ belongings and shipping them to her in Northeast Ohio, but Mercedes had already arranged for her friends to do this although she really appreciated his offer and thanked him.
By November, all the documents from Venezuela had arrived and we were able to complete the filings. About a month later, we received the good news that Mercedes, green card had been approved without her having to attend an interview due to the Covid-19 pandemic combined with the vulnerability of her age.
Mercedes, however, insisted on stopping off at our Cleveland office where she made coffee, Venezuelan style, for our entire staff and presented scarves that she had knitted herself to Ms. Wong and the team members she had most closely worked with.
Good things for Mercedes continued to happen because she woke-up on December 25th to discover that it had snowed overnight and thus she enjoyed a genuine white Christmas for the very first time and all day she played recordings of Bing Crosby singing Christmas carols to celebrate!