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A seven-year path to residency

January 17, 2023

Karla Rodas Smiles
Karla Rodas shares her journey to residency.

In May 2022, seven years after she emigrated from Guatemala, Karla Rodas became a U.S. resident. She credits the Immigration Legal Services (ILS) team at Canal Alliance with helping her to achieve this milestone.

Karla’s road to residency wasn’t easy. She left her hometown of San Carlos Sija Quetzaltenango in Guatemala for the United States in 2014; arriving in the Bay Area, she faced language barriers and economic challenges, and was fearful of the prospect of deportation.

When she made it into the ILS office, Karla was grateful for the immediate help she received from Joana Castro Simonini, Managing Attorney. “She helped me a lot whether I was in or out of court,” explained Karla. “I was confident to share even private conversations with her. She made me feel safe.”

With support, Karla was able to access health insurance and medical services through her pregnancy, and was connected to employment opportunities.

“Thanks to Joana, I was able to get more doors open for me in life and I was able to get a job because of the help I got at Canal Alliance.”

Paralegal Melanie Santos was also instrumental in supporting Karla with paperwork, processes, and legal requirements to become a Lawful Permanent Resident. Looking ahead, Karla has her sights set on U.S. citizenship.

Karla was a wonderful client to work with. I’m so glad she is a permanent resident and is on her path to becoming a U.S. citizen. It gives me a great sense of fulfillment to see clients I worked with when they first arrived in the US continuing their immigration journey with us at Canal Alliance and flourishing in our community here in Marin.

Read more posts in: Client Story, Immigration

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