The gangs in Honduras began harassing Ana* when she was only 14. But after being abandoned by both of her parents when she was young, Ana’s support system was minimal. Beta Martinez, who works in the Clinic’s Immigrant Justice Program, says that the gangs waited for Ana to leave school in the afternoons. “They were telling her, ‘You need to be ours,’” she says.
For some time, Mario and his friend were harassed by a local Narco group led by the town’s own Mayor. “[The Mayor] tries to recruit all the boys to be murderers and vigilantes for him,” says Rachel. But Mario and his friend both resisted. This refusal came at a high price, and when Mario was only 16, the Narcos killed his friend in front of him. Mario barely escaped with his life.
Nearly a year and a half earlier, Tyler and his father drove from their home in Missouri to Indianapolis. His father was going to drop Tyler off for a week-long visit with his Aunt Sara. But at the end of the week, Tyler’s father did not return. “Dad left and never came back,” says Kelsey. For a time, Tyler’s father still made some effort at contact. “He would send [Tyler] cards every once in awhile, so he didn’t totally disappear, but he wouldn’t come back for him,” Kelsey says. “He always said he didn’t have money to come back and get him.”
But then, Dany began to have health issues. He went to see a doctor and learned that he needed emergency brain surgery and hospitalization. Without the surgery, his doctors told him he could go blind, might become paralyzed, or might even die. Although Dany did not have health insurance, he and his wife decided to go forward with the life-saving surgery. Slowly, he began to recover, but the procedure left Dany’s family deeply in debt.
Although this sometimes made the case a bit more difficult, Director of the Ft. Wayne office Desiree Koger-Gustafson says, “[The parents] wanted to make it legal and be able to decide for themselves when they want to tell [their children] about their biological father.” Both Samantha and Carl hoped to complete the adoption as quickly as possible before the boys got any older. “They had not ever been around their biological dad since they were babies and they were getting to the age where they might find out in an unpleasant manner,” Desiree says.
Sui Tlang* was first referred to the Clinic through several different partner agencies that were already working with her. As a young girl living in Burma, she was orphaned and grew up in a refugee camp near Thailand. While in the camp, she received little education and never learned to read or write in her native language. No one ever even tried to teach her English. When she got older, she was married and had two sons, but was soon widowed.
After completing the initial steps of the Clinic’s intake process, Stephen was assigned to Housing Counselor Helene Rodriguez, who was determined to help him. “It just made me realize that sometimes it’s not [a client’s] fault that they fall behind on their mortgage,” she says. “It’s their medical condition, or traumatic events.”
After passing various Driver Safety tests, and with the help of his attorney, Robert was able to submit a Waiver of Reinstatement Fees, which the court granted. This was followed by submitting a request for Specialized Driving Privileges. “It was a long process—it was a year long—and whatever my attorney told me to do, I did,” he says. “Six months ahead of time he told me to start an insurance policy and begin showing a pattern of making payments, although I couldn’t drive. I didn’t question it and I did it. The Prosecutor was floored over that.”
Last year, veteran John Cooper* chose to visit our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) when he realized he needed help sorting out his tax debt with the IRS. After sustaining an injury to his leg years earlier, John was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. Since that time, thanks in part to his disability, John struggled to find steady work.
Natives of Chad, Wowe Nahor* and his wife Nya Nahor* were persecuted for their involvement with the National Council of Chadian Recovery (CNR). Wowe was imprisoned and tortured. Upon being freed, he knew his family must flee their country. And so he applied for and was granted asylum in the United States. At the time, his two sons also received derivative asylee status. The Nahor family was finally safe.