Sonoma County: Helping Undocumented Children Win Legal Status
Meyli was tired, thirsty and hungry for most of her trek on foot through Central America and Mexico. But it is the fear she remembers more than anything else. She was afraid of getting lost, afraid of being caught by the authorities, afraid of being robbed, or worse, by bandits. When she finally crossed into the United States she was still afraid that she’d be sent home and the arduous trip would have been for nothing.
It was inspiring to recently meet Meyli who made that journey a couple of years ago at age 12. It was just as inspiring to learn more about Sonoma County’s Unaccompanied/Undocumented Children Deportation Defense Project which worked within the immigration system to help her attain the legal status she was entitled to. The project received a CSAC Challenge Award in 2016.
Meyli’s parents came to the United States to work when she was two, leaving her with grandparents. But with gang violence becoming increasingly threatening and her grandparents not well, “home” became too dangerous. Like millions of immigrants before her, she was willing to risk unknown hardships for the promise of a better life.