Dear Community Members and Friends, Asalamu Alaykum.
In 2021, a longtime client of our Immigrants’ Rights attorneys became a U.S. citizen. This is ordinarily a cause for celebration, but especially more-so for this client who had started this process alone more than half a decade ago.
Let me share her story with you.
Our legal staff was contacted by an Iranian woman who had been navigating the immigration system since 2015. That year, her daughter had become a U.S. citizen, and she had petitioned for her mother, a widow, to join her and her brother – her mother’s only children – in the United States. As the immediate family member of the petitioner, she should have experienced one of the shortest processing times to be granted an immigrant visa. Instead, she was left to wait in Iran, apart from her family, as her daughter started a family, and her son pursued his academic career.
Tragedy befell the family when her son passed away suddenly. She was able to secure humanitarian parole so that she could attend his funeral in the U.S. Once here, she and her daughter contacted CAIR California (CAIR-CA). Our attorneys submitted an application on her behalf to secure permanent resident status in the U.S. so that she could remain with her daughter. Even with our involvement, her application remained pending for nearly two years, and despite attempts to prompt a resolution of her case through direct requests and congressional inquiries, she remained in limbo.
While disheartening, the immense delay created an opportunity for CAIR-CA’s attorneys to turn to the courts for justice. While our legal team was prepared to pursue a writ of mandamus against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), within 30 days of being informed of our intent to sue, USCIS scheduled our client for an interview. Her years of patience paid off – shortly after her interview, her green card arrived in the mail.
This client’s case is a beautiful example of the power of perseverance found throughout our American Muslim community and throughout CAIR-CA’s statewide Annual Legal Report. Of the 1,990 intakes received by the four CAIR-CA offices – San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA), San Diego (CAIR-SD), Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA), and Sacramento Valley and Central California Areas (CAIR-SV/CC) – in 2021, our Annual Legal Report highlights the work we have done to empower our community, protect civil and immigrant rights, and resist the ever-present spread of Islamophobia.
2021 was a year filled with headlines, but the small print should not be lost – Afghan Americans petitioning for loved ones to evacuate Afghanistan on humanitarian parole status; a monetary settlement from an airline who almost prevented the completion of the Umrah pilgrimage; a grand-uncle freely inviting his family to visit his new home. These are the stories that have inspired hope amongst CAIR-CA, and that we share with you to inspire the same.
With your support, the perseverance of our community, and the hope we share, your local CAIR offices will continue our advocacy and representations of individuals, families, and social institutions as we work toward achieving inclusive justice, equity, and religious harmony.
If you know someone who needs civil rights or immigration legal assistance, please advise them to contact us.
In addition to that though, consider joining our Champions of Justice program as you plan for the new Hijri year. Our Champions are our monthly donors! Some give just $30 per month and others give as much as $100 per month. Any amount you can give monthly will enable our team to protect, empower and elevate the lives of thousands of Muslims in our community on a sustained basis.
Simply visit our web donation page and select “make this donation monthly.”
Jazaka’Allah khair for your support and trust always.
Legal Services Coordinator