From the Financial News and Daily Record, 4/6/16
An immigrant family seeking asylum was referred to the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership (NFMLP) for legal assistance. The family had an asylum application which had been pending for many years with no response. The family also had a young son with severe autism, a condition that responds to early, intensive intervention. Without the approval of the asylum application, the family could not access medical services and therapy for the preschool son prior to a five-year waiting period. Pro bono attorney, Rebecca Black, stepped up to try to assist with getting the needed asylum decision. Black described her pro bono efforts:
What were the basic facts of your case? My client had an asylum case pending with USCIS for several years after his asylum interview. He had asked Immigration for updates and never got a response.
What were you able to accomplish for your client? After review of his case, I prepared a letter for the Miami asylum office and made a follow up call requesting they let us know what information they needed to approve the case. I did indicate that I was getting ready to request the local congressman’s office assistance as it was outside of the required application processing time-frame. Within a few weeks, USCIS approved his asylum application.
Why was the outcome important to your client? The family has much needed stability. He can now become a permanent resident, he doesn’t have to go back to a country that is dangerous and in chaos, and his son can get the treatment he needs.
Why was the experience important to you? That is, what did you gain from the experience? It is always a good feeling when you can help good people achieve their American dream.
What is the name of your firm? In what areas do you practice? Rebecca Black Immigration, PA, Immigration- business, investors, employment, naturalization, residency, marriage, deportation.
What advice do you have for other attorneys considering pro bono involvement? Just do it. The rewards are great. And Kathy Para loves you. . . .
When NFMLP staff attorney, Katy DeBriere, was closing the case with the client, she received these comments from him, “This is certainly a great outcome, and we are so happy for that. Rebecca was so prompt and professional in handling our case and we are so thankful for her efforts!”
Black provided hope to this family and a chance for a new beginning. There is no better outcome than that. Sincere appreciation is extended to Black and the hundreds of pro bono attorneys assisting low-income clients with civil legal matters. Your work matters to your clients and to our whole community.