After three year delay, Meriden resident receives permanent residency status
MERIDEN — A chance meeting in a city beauty salon in January helped Fatima Ramirez obtain permanent residency for herself and security for her family.
Ramirez came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic three years ago to start a new life. Soon afterwards she met her husband Samuel Ramirez, who had come to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. The couple married and they had a daughter, Andrea Ramirez, now 3 years old.
Fatima Ramirez met Migdalia Alicea at a local salon in January and the two women chatted. She told Alicea about her difficulties getting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to respond to her petition for permanent residency.
It wasn’t until later that Ramirez learned she was talking to someone in a position to help. Alicea is the community liaison for U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District.
Samuel Ramirez had petitioned Immigration Services in 2012 with documentation for his wife to become a permanent U.S. resident. The family last heard from the agency in July 2016 and was becoming increasingly worried something was wrong with her petition.
After meeting Alicea in January, Fatima Ramirez reached out to Esty’s office and asked for help getting an update on her case, as her attempts were unsuccessful.
“I wanted to go to school, see my family and have a future for my family,” Fatima Ramirez said. “I met Migdalia and told her about my problem. She asked Elizabeth and she worked really fast.”
Esty contacted Immigration Services about Ramirez’s interview date status and placed a congressional inquiry on Ramirez’s case. Within a week, the agency reached out to Ramirez and set up an interview date in February. In March, she received her permanent residency card, also known as a green card.
“Thanks to her I have my residency,” Ramirez said of Esty.
Ramirez’s fears of deportation and being separated from her family have vanished, and she recently got a new job in a city factory. She eventually plans to attend college and pursue a career in health care.
“I’m pleased to see the end of an extremely stressful chapter for Fatima and her family,” Esty said. “The years of delays and red tape that they had to wade through are exactly why we need comprehensive immigration reform. I’ll keep fighting for that in Congress, but I will also keep working to ensure families in our community like Fatima’s are able to navigate the immigration system as painlessly as possible.”
Despite her own good fortune, Ramirez said there are too many other undocumented residents and families living in fear.
“I know a lot of people in the same troubles, it’s not easy,” Ramirez said.