Clinic Story: Gloria and her Son

Gloria came to us because we had been working wither her son, helping him resolve his undocumented status. She has been coming from Mexico to visit him as he is critically ill, and his recovery is uncertain. This has been a long term struggle for their family.

Gloria first started making trips to Detroit to visit her son with a visitor’s visa. While staying with a friend here, Gloria accompanied her friend to her work cleaning houses. As a way of saying thank, Gloria’s friend gave her $20. This was hardly a day’s wage, but it was enough to get her visa revoked on the return trip home.

Something about her made a Border Patrol agent press the issue. Gloria admitted to “working” while in the US, something prohibited under a visitor’s visa. Presently she is here on a humanitarian visa, a short-term, non-renewable visa that you can only receive once.

There are a lot of questions one could ask about this situation. Who is paying for her son’s health care? Was Gloria really working in the US? Why did the Border Patrol single her out for interrogation?

Our concern is a mother who does not want to leave her dying son.

Extending a humanitarian visa is a non-standard process. We sent a letter to the local US Citizenship and Immigration Services director and have asked US House Representative Brenda Lawrence’s office to step in on Gloria’s behalf. Right now, she needs to leave the country in a little more than a week. We are hopeful we can get a little bit more time to be by her son’s side.


The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center provides free and low-cost legal services to those who need them most in the Detroit area, with a focus on recent immigrants and refugees.

We were founded in 2014 by Kevin Piecuch, our Executive Director and principal attorney, to help meet the great need for quality legal services in underserved communities. We believe that everyone deserves justice regardless of your country of origin, the color of your skin, or your ability to afford an attorney.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

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