When Rosa* arrived in the United States with her infant son after a dangerous, difficult journey, she was surprised by the kindness shown to her by the LIRS network. The simplest gesture of solidarity—a conversation and a hug from a caseworker—was enough to cause her to weep.
“Everyone has been so good to us,” she said through her tears. “I didn’t expect this.”
In the days that followed, Rosa was supplied with the basic needs that would help her start her new life in the United States: warm meals, backpacks, shoes, clothes, and some toys for her son, as well as a brief cultural orientation, Know Your Rights training, and contact information for a pro-bono lawyer and free medical clinics. Perhaps most importantly, she was able to connect with her family in Brazil and speak to her own mother, ensuring her that she was safe.
While the LIRS network was able to support her in her first days in the U.S., however, the road before her is long. The average asylum case takes between 2-5 years from initial hearing to decision, depending on the court backlog—but Rosa remains resilient.
“Everything I went through was worth my freedom,” she says. “I do not know what lies before me in the future and my prayer is that one day, I will be granted asylum. I am going to a state where a distant cousin lives, and I may not have everything, but for now I have peace and I know my baby and I are safe.”
*Names have been changed.