The Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation have supported Casa Cornelia in San Diego, providing legal support to 418 immigrants this year, most of whom are victims of abuse. One of these stories is about Gabriela* (not her real name), a Mexican-born woman with two children and a long-standing history of physical and psychological abuse.
Growing up, she witnessed domestic violence from her father against her mother and was often even on the receiving end of his abuse. Gabriela left Mexico at the age of 15, fleeing the abuse and hoping for a better life for herself in the United States. After arriving in the U.S., Gabriela met her future partner and the father of her children. At first, things went well, but soon she found herself in the same kind of relationship she had seen her mother suffer through. For years, she was physically and psychologically abused.
When she was finally able to free herself from that situation, Gabriela requested a restraining order against her ex-partner, which was approved by a judge. Unfortunately, her ex-partner violated the protective order on multiple occasions and caused long-standing emotional damage to Gabriela and her son. However, despite this, she fought hard to face all the challenges so she could take care of her children and provide a better life for them.
With Casa Cornelia’s help, Gabriela was able to obtain a U Visa that would allow her to remain in the U.S. with her children and eventually apply for Lawful Permanent Residency, finally finding the peace and security she had been seeking all her life.