Lenten Devotion: Celebrating Foreign-Born Women

Everyone knows two things

Roughly half the world population are women, and also that men are preferred in almost every way. Most world leaders are men. Men are paid more for the same work and same level of education throughout the world. And yet the vast majority of women over the age of 40 are mothers, most caring for both children and parents.

Foreign born women finding their way into the US, with or without good visas, have a much harder time getting legal status than men. Very sad that just a few days ago, the same week as International Women’s Day, on March 8, the newspapers reported that thousands of foreign-born women have been “discovered” in massage parlors across the country, forced into sexual slavery. This breaks my heart.

Lent is a perfect time for contemplating how we can improve women’s lives around the world. Women coming to the United States bring stories of extreme hardship. Many continue the hardship even in the U.S.


A Woman from Mexico who is Married to a Green Card holder

Came to our office looking for help. Her husband wanted her to have a Green Card, too, becoming a Permanent U.S. Resident. We gathered information and filed the I-485 Adjustment of Status, I-765 Application for Employment, and I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. We received notice from USCIS’s intent to deny the clients’ applications. USCIS denied the applications because they thought her going back to Mexico would not prove a hardship for her husband. She was very worried and afraid that she might be sent back to Mexico. We encouraged and told her that we will fight for her until to the end.

Our staff once again worked closely with the couple, gather supporting documents and submitted just the I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. The application was pending for long time and we filed a G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative to push the application, followed by an I-290B Motion to Reopen/Reconsider with an extensive brief and exhibits.

The Motion was granted and the underlying waiver application (I-601) was approved. After receiving this notice, we sent an inquiry letter to the Dallas, TX, USCIS office regarding the status for I-485. Later, we received a Receipt notice from USCIS for the I-485 Adjustment of Status. We were very happy to hear that the client got an approval notice in the mail. Finally, the client won her Green Card after seven years of waiting.

Pray on the plight of women this Lenten season – even while you cook and clean, care for and love your family. How can you improve your condition? Can you save some money for your retirement? Can you help a young woman finish high school and get a good job? If you lack legal status, can you make it a Lenten promise to see an immigration lawyer before Easter to start your plan now? What will it take to become a citizen in five or ten or fifteen years? Pray for the God’s grace and guidance.

Margaret W. Wong, Esq.