Esty Helps Watertown Resident Secure U.S. Citizenship
February 3, 2017
WATERTOWN, CT—Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) this week shared a “Constituent Corner” story from Watertown resident Jahvon John, who worked with Esty to receive his United States citizenship.
Jahvon was born on Barbuda, but his father is a United States citizen. Children born to American citizens abroad are eligible for citizenship; however, parents are required to file the proper paperwork to ensure their children are recognized as citizens.
Jahvon moved to the United States when he was eight months old. He did not know that the proper paperwork had not been filed until he was 16 and wanted to apply for a driver’s license. Jahvon went through the necessary channels, and filled out the recommended paperwork—only to be told he had filed the wrong form. Once he corrected his mistake, Jahvon waited for the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve his case. Unfortunately for Jahvon, the office processing his case was severely backlogged, delaying his citizenship indefinitely. Unsure of how to proceed or monitor his case, Jahvon reached out to Esty.
Esty contacted USCIS on Jahvon’s behalf, and was able to track down his case. Working with USCIS agents, Esty was able to alert Jahvon that he was missing crucial pieces of information.
Soon, Esty received word Jahvon’s case had been approved, and he was scheduled for a naturalization ceremony in Hartford. Shortly after becoming a naturalized citizen, Esty continued to assist Jahvon in receiving his Social Security Number and card, as well as securing the necessary paperwork to apply for a Connecticut’s driver’s license.
“I am so thankful for everything Rep. Esty did for me. What I had been working on and tracking for years, she was able to assist me in completing in a matter of months. I would never have been able to do this without the help of her office, and they were the missing piece in all of this,”
Jahvon John, Watertown
Esty Secures Tax Refund for Simsbury Resident
December 8, 2016
SIMSBURY, CT—Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) this week shared a “Constituent Corner” story from Simsbury resident Michael Rosenberg, who experienced a lengthy delay in receiving his federal income tax return after moving from New York to Connecticut.
Rosenberg moved from New York to Connecticut in June of this year, and by September, he still had not received his federal income tax refund of $1,247 for 2015. After Rosenberg did his own initial outreach, the IRS requested he provide further proof regarding information on his tax return. Specifically, the IRS wanted further clarification about his wife, who had passed away in February 2015. Rosenberg and his wife had filed jointly while she was still living.
Esty reached out to the IRS and Taxpayer Advocate System to help move the case along, and ensure Rosenberg received his refund. Esty worked with the officials to understand what was causing the delay, and what information was still needed in order for his refund to be processed. Less than a month after Rosenberg contacted Esty’s office, he saw the refund deposited into his account.
“Rep. Esty and her staff were extremely courteous and professional. They provided professional and personal service to the process at the IRS to help me to procure my tax refund. Regardless of any particular party affiliation, Rep. Esty and her staff are the best office I have ever dealt with,”
Michael Rosenberg, Simsbury.
Esty Successfully Intervenes to Reverse Clawback of Danbury Veteran’s Bonus
November 28, 2016
DANBURY, CT—Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) this week shared a “Constituent Corner” story from Danbury resident David Vieira, who reached out to Esty for assistance in securing a refund from the California National Guard after the wrongful clawback of his bonus.
Vieira joined the Connecticut National Guard in 2007, and then transferred to the California National Guard in August 2008. He served in Afghanistan from 2010-2011, and was honorably discharged in 2013. As an incentive for enrolling in the National Guard, Vieira was issued a Student Loan Replacement Program (SLRP) incentive. Bonuses like the one Vieira received were issued to National Guard members across California.
In 2012, just within a year of returning home from Afghanistan, Vieira received a notice of debt to the National Guard, which insisted he repay his SLRP incentive bonus. The U.S. Treasury Department informed Vieira it would soon begin deducting hundreds of dollars each week from his VA pension until this debt was paid off. The Pentagon had determined the National Guard had no right to issue these bonuses, and as part of the National Guard’s efforts to reclaim lost monies, began issuing debt notices to Guard members.
This issue followed Vieira as he moved in 2011 from California to Danbury, CT, where he currently resides. Earlier this year, he reached out to Esty for assistance in resolving this issue.
Esty worked with the California State Military Reserve, California National Guard, and National Guard Bureau to ensure all of Vieira’s bonus repayments would be expedited and refunded. Esty also released a statement denouncing the payments, calling the Pentagon’s clawback efforts “misguided.” Additionally, Esty wrote to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and National Guard Bureau Chief General Joseph Lengyel to thank them for suspending the bonus collections, and called on them to work with Congress to find a permanent solution. She also wrote to the U.S. House leadership urging Congress to remain vigilant and work with Department of Defense to find a solution to end unfair bonus recoupments.
After months of communicating back and forth with military agencies, Esty received word in November that Vieira’s case had been settled and he would be repaid in full.
“By the time I moved from California to Connecticut, I had begun to lose hope that anyone would help me reclaim the monies I knew were rightfully mine I have been lucky to have the support of Rep. Esty and her staff,” Vieira said. “I am sure that hundreds if not thousands of others have not been so fortunate and have found themselves fighting this battle alone.
“It was refreshing to hear that Rep. Esty cared enough to really help, as my previous experiences led me to believe that moving forward on this issue would never happen. I am glad that she is on the forefront of this issue now, and I pray that with her assistance we can help the thousands of others who desperately need a voice in Washington and at home to get them the resolution they deserve, that they earned. She is doing the right thing by trying to address and fix a broken system after hearing stories of hardship and mistreatment of our veterans.”
David Vieira, Danbury
Esty Helps Aspiring Danbury Doctor Secure Student Visa
October 4, 2016
DANBURY, CT—Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) this week shared a “Constituent Corner” story from Danbury resident Mahshid Mohammadi, who reached out to Esty for help renewing her student visa.
Mohammadi, originally from Iran, is a Canadian citizen attending medical school in the United States. She has been traveling between Canada and the United States since 2011, tending to her husband and son in Canada while completing her schooling in the States. While home visiting her family and renewing her visa at the U.S Embassy this past May, the Embassy informed her that her visa issuance was currently under administrative processing.
Months went by, and Mohammadi heard nothing from the Embassy. She became worried something was wrong with her visa when the Embassy asked for her husband’s passport and other paperwork on his behalf. In light of the delays, Mohammadi expressed concerns about completing her residency and graduating on time to her residency program manager at the Connecticut Institute for Families, Inc. in Danbury. From there, her program manager recommended she reach out to Esty’s office for help.
Esty reached out to the State Department to inquire what had caused the administrative processing. Tthe State Department reported it had no reason on record for the visa renewal issue, and Esty worked with the State Department speed up the renewal process. As a result, the State Department finally processed Mohammadi’s visa, and asked Mohammadi and her husband to bring their passports to the Embassy to complete all the necessary paperwork. Once it was completed, Mohammadi’s visa issuance concern was resolved, and she received her visa.
“To my surprise, after two weeks, I got a call from Congresswoman Esty. She was the most helpful, and told me that the issue for both me and my husband was resolved, and the U.S. Embassy in Canada just needed my passport. I am sure that without her precious help, I would not have been able to move on with my residency training, and keep my family together. Thank you so very much.”
Mahshid Mohammadi, Danbury