Skip to main content

Before coming to the United States, “Andrés” lived in Guatemala in a one-room house with his parents, three siblings, and six other family members. The 12-person household made only $40/month, often lacked food to eat, and could not afford medical care. Andrés was forced to leave school in sixth grade in order to work in the fields and help support his family. When he turned 16, he made the perilous journey north to join his older brother in hopes of improving his living conditions.

Although he did gain access to adequate food, shelter, and an education following his arrival in the U.S., his legal situation remained precarious. In 2022, Andrés attended New England Justice for Our Neighbors’ Western Massachusetts legal clinic. His New England JFON lawyer at Central West Justice Center filed for a green card, and Andrés received it a few months later.

Andrés reports, “I am very grateful to [New England JFON and Central West Justice Center] for changing my life. I feel safer and have more opportunities.” He emphasizes that, since he could not previously work legally in the U.S., he would have had no path to legal representation without our free services. Now that he has completed high school and received legal status, Andrés has been able to obtain a driver’s license and a stable job at a warehouse.

Thanks to his bravery and initiative and our aid, Andrés has been able to improve his life immeasurably and is now looking forward to a much brighter future. Our volunteers, staff, supporters, and legal partners work together to provide safety, stability, hope, and justice to unaccompanied minors like Andrés and to all of our clients.