My office had the privilege of helping a “Child of the Dust” (a child of a Vietnamese mother and an absentee American serviceman father) last month. Here is a letter about the case from the director of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project
I’m writing to share with all of you an incredibly moving LPR Cancellation victory yesterday. We decided to seek pro bono support for Mr. Sanh on his LPR Cancellation case when we realized that pro se he would have almost no chance of success given his history of substance abuse and lack of family support. Making things even harder, Mr. Sanh speaks Vietnamese and we were struggling to provide adequate support.
When I posted a request for Vietnamese interpreters to our AILA listserv, Cliff not only had contact with Nancy, a fabulous interpreter eager to help Mr. Sanh, but also offered to take on Mr. Sanh’s case pro bono. Cliff and Mr. Sanh made a beautiful personal connection and have plans to stay in touch after he is released.
Here is a little excerpt of some of what Cliff wrote about the hearing:
His description of his childhood in Vietnam (not allowed to go to school, watching cows in the rice paddies from age 11) was compelling. It turns out that he asked the judge in his paraphernalia case to send him to prison, so that he could “clean himself out.” I think Immigration Judge Devitto was particularly impressed with this. I established that all his arrests and convictions were related to drugs and alcohol, and that he had a plan to stop. He was able to say that almost three years of being clean and sober had changed him.
The TA left it to the judge’s discretion when asked for his position. We went back to the holding cell, and Sanh asked when he would be released. When I told him in a few hours he cried and hugged me.
Nancy and Cliff, thank you both so much for supporting Mr. Sanh and the Florence Project. We are grateful to have you as friends of the organization.
Thalassa Kingsnorth Esq.
Pro Bono Program Director
Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project