Today marks the 100th birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, an American medical researcher and virologist that discovered and developed the Polio Vaccine. He was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City to immigrant parents who were Russian Jews. He was a humanitarian who worked tirelessly on behalf of society and never gave up whether it be his attempts to secure research funds or challenges with his medical trials. His dedication to science and the world’s health was evidenced by his decision not to patent the polio vaccine, forgoing the potential of billions of dollars for his family.
We at North County Immigration find it remarkable that today, on Dr. Salk’s 100th birthday, we received an approval of a U visa for our client who has been battling a devastating medical disease in which their life expectancy is less than 6 months. What makes it remarkable is that our team was able to overcome the impossible in getting her visa granted in only seven months. Under our immigration system, there are only 10,000 U visas allotted per fiscal year and the cap had already been reached in 2014. In fact, a U visa number would probably not be available for our client until approximately 2016 or 2017 as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service had received so many applications. Thus, our clients were supposed to just wait in line and given our client’s health we knew it wasn’t possible to sit around and wait.
Knowing our client would not make it, we were resolute on getting our client’s application to the head of the line, because we knew if our client died before it was approved, her dependent husband’s application would be denied and he had no other possibility of getting his legal status here in the U.S. This was his only chance. Together they have a minor US citizen child and we could not let this opportunity for this hardworking family pass by.
We conferred with many practitioners and non-profit organizations and were told by everyone that there was no way around the cap and nothing could be done. However, we refused to accept it and pushed on. Our team worked its way up the bureaucratic ladder and ended up working closely with the lawyers at the USCIS Vermont Service Center. With the help of compassionate attorneys at USCIS, our team was able to expedite our clients’ case and obtain a U visa for her and husband in just 7 months. Today, under the Salk spirit, we at North County Immigration believe there are just some “No’s” you don’t accept and there are some purposes greater than our own work. We are inspired to continue our hard work on behalf of many others.
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” – Dr. Jonas Salk