RILA was honored to have three of its clients interviewed by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) for its Mother’s Day tribute, highlighting women who are raising children with strength and love in perilous situations. Read all of these moving stories here.
The following is excerpted from the story of a RILA client by Tania Guerrero of CLINIC:
“Mariam” is a single mother originally from the Middle East. She, alongside her children, survived severe domestic violence that led them to seek asylum in the United States. The government had no adequate system to provide protection in her home country, so she fled, fearing for her safety and that of her family. “I could not figure a way to stay since there were no safety measures. The culture and the community do not provide protection for kids and women who are going through domestic violence. “I did not want to leave, but I did not have a choice,” Mariam said.
After three years, Mariam and her children were granted asylum and have recently become lawful permanent residents. Becoming a resident came with mixed feelings for Mariam. “I was so happy that I was granted…[but] leaving the Middle East was the hardest decision to make, because you leave your home behind–until this moment, I am still homesick,” shared Mariam.
Mariam sees her children blossoming into empathetic and brave young people, leading healthy lives, despite the hardships and sacrifices…Her children, clearly taking after their mother, have demonstrated their own brand of resilience; they have become outspoken, optimistic and helpful human beings. “They have gone through a lot, and they know how to empathize with their friends. I feel so proud,” Mariam said.
It is an essential part of one’s life to be acknowledged and recognized as a person who has inherent rights. Mariam has found a different voice and sense of agency in her new home. She has become part of the strong community where she feels validated and seen. “I will be honest, there have been moments where I have been discriminated against because of my color or my legal status. But, I always had someone to lean on who understood...and stood with me.”
Mariam’s story brings light to a mother’s love and persistence to protect their family, no matter the sacrifice.