Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. (DMRS) believes a loving and welcoming community is fundamental to our faith and future. We help the vulnerable on their journey without regard to political ideology through the delivery of exceptional legal immigration services.
As the only full-service legal aid clinic specializing in immigration-related matters, we serve approximately 20,000 low-income and indigent individuals per year Through six programs, we provide a comprehensive range of immigration legal services including representation in family-based immigration matters, representation for religious workers, representation for Citizenship/Naturalization, representation related to benefits for survivors of domestic violence, other crimes and human trafficking, representation for individuals in removal proceedings before the Immigration Courts, services for adults and unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the local immigration detention centers and shelters. Currently, 96% of those served by DMRS receive free services.
DMRS SUCCESS STORY: SULEMA
Unbeknownst to many, family separations at the border started to occur before the news outlets began reporting it in April 2018. In June 2017, a Salvadoran mother, Sulema, and her son, Mateo, entered the United States and were apprehended and separated. Mateo, who at the time was 10 years old, was taken to an immigrant children's shelter in New York. Sulema was taken to a detention facility in El Paso. They would not see each other for 14 months.
Sulema fled El Salvador to escape an extremely violent and dangerous partner. This man, Mateo's father, subjected her to physical beatings, brutal rapes, and psychological mistreatment. He threatened to kill her if she reported his actions to the police or her mother. He intimidated her by constantly reminding her that he had criminal connections. After Sulema fled El Salvador, Mateo’s father left a menacing letter with Sulema's mother in El Salvador. In the letter he threatened to kill her and their son if he ever saw them again.
Throughout their separation, Mateo frequently expressed his desire to reunite with his mother. Undoubtedly, his mother also asked repeatedly to be reunited with her son but feared they would be deported back to El Salvador before that could happen. Despite a judge's order requiring that all separated parents and children be reunited, Sulema and Mateo remained separated.
The long awaited moment happened during Labor Day weekend. Mother and son were finally reunited! The 14 months of separation were incredibly difficult for both Sulema and Mateo. Their fight is not over, but they will continue to fight together! We are hopeful that Sulema and her son will be able to remain in the United States and thrive.