I came to the USA across the Mexican border. I had to travel for days to fly from Pakistan to France and then from France to Mexico and then met up with a group of “coyotes” to bring me inside the U.S. I was desperate to escape into a free country like America, so I was ready to go through hardships to get into America. I spent days in the desert without much food or water waiting for the right time to cross the border.
I paid “coyotes” to bring me illegally into the U.S. They put me in a van carrying construction materials into the U.S. I was laying between sheets of plywood and glass to hide from a possible check at the border.
When I got out of the van in Texas, I took a bus to Indiana. My relatives lived there. In Indiana, my relatives picked me up from the bus stop. I was in bad shape after not eating or drinking and being on the bus for so long, but I was happy to now be in a free country. After I spent some time in Indiana, I moved to New York, where my other relatives live (we have a big family). I found Shepelsky Law (Marina and her associate) after searching for the right asylum lawyer to help me file for asylum in New York.
With Shepelsky Law help, I applied for asylum based on religious persecution in Pakistan. I came from a region where there is a fierce struggle between religious groups of Sunnis and Shiites. My family and I are Sunnis and go to the appropriate temple, and we had problems. My father had a store. It was bombed. Our family was threatened, our house was destroyed. My relatives and I suffered. We contacted the police but to no avail. I had photos and paperwork to show all the damage to our store and the police reports we submitted that nothing was done about.
I was lucky when my New York friends advised me to use immigration attorneys of Shepelsky Law Office. Marina and her assistants handled my case very competently. We have attached as evidence many photographs, confirmation from the police and from the hospital. They also found many articles and information online about the struggles in my country and sent that to the judge to show that I am not alone in my suffering due to religious persecution in my region in Pakistan.
Shepelsky law lawyers spent days with me going over my story and preparing for court. They sent to court a big package of my documents to show I was a real refugee.
When the date of my individual hearing came, Marina and her associate attorney were in court with the judge, but I was not there. I woke up feeling sick that morning, and barely dragged myself onto the subway. Then, I got stuck in the subway and was late for a court by more than an hour and a half. The judge already ordered me deported since I did not show up on time to my hearing! I was offline, with no mobile coverage, totally sick and panicked. The judge had no choice and signed the deportation order.
I ran to the courthouse when Marina and her associate were just walking out. They were shocked to see me and told me that now I need to have a doctor’s note to show a real strong excuse to reopen the deportation order that happened in my absence that morning. She sent me to the hospital for documenting my illness and having an excuse to reopen my deportation order. I went to an emergency room in the hospital. There, I explained to the doctor all my symptoms. They were very embarrassing: diarrhea, stomach ache, vomiting, and probably dehydration. At the hospital, they gave me medical records confirming that I was sick. Based on these documents Marina was able to reopen my deportation order.
I arrived at the second court hearing on time. Our hearing was tough, but Shepelsky Law attorneys and assistants prepared me very well. I told the judge what happened to me and she believed me. I got asylum and won my trial. Thanks to Marina, we were able to prove that the persecution was on religious grounds. I received asylum, and a year later I applied for a green card. The whole process took over three years.
I have plans to get American citizenship now, but I have to wait until I have my green card for 5 years.