Success Stories: Year End 2011

Bilingual Social Services

Mr. S. Gonzalez came into the Bilingual Social Services (BSS) department of the Centro Hispano, seeking assistance on how to bring his wife and two daughters from Mexico in 1994. After, consultation and proper documentation by October 1994 and “I-130- Petition for Alien Relative” was sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency.

In November of 1994, Mr. S. Gonzalez had received a receipt notice of USCIS had received the petition.

In March of 2000, Mr. Gonzalez returned to BSS because he had not received the Approval Notices of I-130 form. Community worker assisted with investigating and found that the petitions had been approved, but the approval notices were returned to USCIS because the client had not notified the agency of his change of address. All forms and priority dates for Visas were established for the client’s wife and two daughters in 1999.

In 2001, the wife and daughters entered the United States with their Visa’s as Legal Permanent Residents (LPR).

In September of 2010 Mrs. I. Gonzalez, visited the BSS department to learn if she can become a United States Citizen. After her consultation with the community worker, Mrs. Gonzalez took initiative to go onto the Centro Hispano, Adult Education, department for preparation of the exam for citizenship.

After 17 years, the BSS community worker educated, facilitated and guided the Gonzalez family from a separation of countries to a new life; Mrs. I. Gonzalez became a Citizen of the United States on February 17, 2011. After, Mrs. I. Gonzalez became a citizen; her younger daughter became a citizen on April 14, 2011. Now the youngest child may continue her education in the United States as a US citizen and qualify for scholarships and grants.

Mrs. I. Gonzalez recently petitioned for her parents on June of 2011, who currently live in Mexico. An approval notice is pending.

Community Worker on Immigration
Bilingual Social Services Department

Centro Hispano

Special Living

I first met Mr. Santos during one of my visits to the Community Room. As he walked by the room, I engaged him in conversation.  He stood outside the doorway and would not venture in.  He seemed sad and forlorn and gradually began telling me of his medical and emotional well being.

Mr. Santos has a number of medical concerns for which he is constantly juggling appointments. It includes breathing difficulties and arthritis in his knees and joints.  What was of most concern to me was his emotional state due to the loss of a son a few years earlier.  Mr. Santos was so stricken with the loss of his son which led to his attempt at suicide.  Consequently, he was referred for professional help and treatment.

However, as he stated, most of his time was spent between doctor visits and being alone in his apartment. He had no contact with the rest of his children or any social outlet.

I personally began inviting Mr. Santos to our organized activities in the Community Room.  For the first three months he would not attend always having an excuse or other.  In June he signed up for an outing, to my extreme jubilation, only to have him cancel at the last minute.

Recently, with a lot of encouragement, he began appearing before the Community Room. One day he set foot in the room and stayed a while.

Shortly thereafter, he attended a presentation on "Healthy Living" and spoke openly about his problems with arthritis.

Mr. Santos is now fully participating in the community room where he has his daily cup of coffee in the morning and interacts with other residents.

What was most remarkable was seeing one of his sons coming to visit him last week!

Advocacy Makes It Happen

Ms. Rodriguez was referred to the Centro by a teacher at school after she was involved in an auto accident and did not know how to proceed.  She had never been in an accident before, and, although she speaks some English, she does not speak well enough to handle this problem.  She came to the Centro with the police report that stated that it was a non-reportable accident, meaning that the police believed that the damage to the vehicle was less than one thousand dollars.

I spoke with the other party’s insurance company, State Farm Insurance, who wanted $1991.80 to pay the damages to their client.  State Farm also stated that the claim against Ms. Rodriguez would be assigned to First Financial Asset Management in order to recover the loss. I inquired whether a reduced amount could be arranged, but was told bluntly that the amount owed was non negotiable.  I relayed this information to Ms. Rodriguez.  I also told her to inform her mother since her mother is the owner of the car and would be affected by the outcome of the case.  Within the time that my client and her mother discussed the incident the claim was sent to AFNI of Bloomington, IL, another recovery agent.  When I spoke to Mike with AFNI he was not very cooperative.  In the mean time Ms Rodriguez asked if there could be some reduction of the claim amount and stated that she and her mother would pay a reduced amount as soon as possible.

Subsequently I contacted Bonnie of AFNI and she was willing to negotiate.  I offered $800.00 and she countered with $995.00.  When I relayed this information to Ms. Rodriguez she agreed and said she would bring the $995.00 in a money order as soon as possible.  I spoke to Bonnie and we agreed that the money would be sent to AFNI by the 20th of December.  When Ms. Rodriguez brought in the money order on December 16th I filled in the proper information and mailed it to AFNI.  Ms. Rodriguez received a release from AFNI about two weeks later, and when the release was filed with the Department of Transportation it prevented the suspension of her driver’s license and also prevented the suspension of registration for her mother because she was the registered owner. While the reduction in the damage cost is important, more significant is the prevention of suspensions to both.