Last week Junior received his permanent US residency documents, the “Green Card”.
Junior’s wait to receive his official notification of permanent residency status was long — but apparently also normal. He applied in November, 2015 and waited about 16 months. All the while there was no news from the government — the Green Card application process is completely opaque to the “customers”. It’s very nerve wracking, especially since the November election.
Unless you’ve done something criminal, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting the Green Card. At least as far as I know or what our clients have experienced.
But, the process takes a lot longer than is reasonable, even by the government’s standards. People waiting for Green Cards are told to get one-year extensions of the employment authorizations. But, that time expires before the Green Card arrives. So, more applications, more fees, and more anxiety.
On the other hand, it’s a real celebration when the card arrives and is in your hand!
Today’s Bay Area Reporter features an article by Matthew S. Bajko that highlights the problems of LGBTI refugees adjusting to San Francisco. Correctly the difficulty of finding housing and the high cost of living in San Francisco lead the list of challenges.
Two of the group’s client’s, Junior Mayema and Firooz, were interviewed for the story and quoted. In addition, two members of the Guardian Group, Jay Roller and Galen Workman, have their comments included.
It’s a terrific article. Thanks Matthew and BAR for shining a light on the need of our clients and of all the LGBTI refugees/asylum seekers/asylees that come to the Bay Area.
Read the story!
Junior Mayema on this first day in San Francisco
The Guardian Group’s most recently arrived refugee is an activist. Unlike the other men we’re helping, Junior is open with his identity and story.
The other asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees we’ve met have had concerns about revealing their identity. Some are not out to their family and friends back in their home country. Others fear reprisal against their families if the family’s neighbors found out that one of the children is gay. And, some simply want privacy.
Junior Mayema, on the other hand, gains strength from sharing his identity and story. He is articulate and intelligent, and he quickly gets animated when he talks about human rights.
Earlier today Junior started a new blog and created his first posts. “The Story of My Life in Three Major Articles” is particularly courageous. And, that entry’s link to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ article on Junior is both chilling and inspiring.
We are going to follow Junior’s blog!