Regina’s life was filled with hardship from a young age. Growing up in Guatemala, she suffered from neglect and abuse, and when she became pregnant at the age of 20, she knew that she needed to make a better life for both herself and her son. Despite the pain of leaving her four-year-old son behind, she made the difficult decision to come to the United States in search of a better future.
But things did not go as planned. Regina found herself trapped in a cycle of domestic violence, suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of her partner. She reached her breaking point and reported the abuse to the police, but the trauma of her childhood continued to haunt her.
It would be another 13 years before Regina was reunited with her son, Edwin. At the age of 17, Edwin made the journey to the United States on his own, crossing the border without inspection. He was detained at the border and sent to a detention center for minors in Arizona. A social worker there made it her mission to reunite Edwin with his mother in California.
In 2014, Regina sought help from a law firm to apply for a U visa, which is available to victims of crimes. Edwin was added as a derivative on his mother’s application, and the law firm represented them during the U visa process. However, the law firm eventually went out of business and referred Regina to California Human Development. With their help, Regina and Edwin’s U visas were finally approved in 2018.
Finally, in 2021, Regina and Edwin returned to California Human Development to apply for lawful permanent resident status, which they were granted in December 2022. Regina’s journey to recovery is ongoing, but now that she has legal resident status, she can finally return to Guatemala to see her mother, whom she has not seen in 23 years. She is also working to repair her relationship with Edwin. Both Regina and Edwin are grateful for the help they received from the Immigration & Citizenship Program and are excited about the opportunities that being legal residents will bring.