Pathways to Citizenship + Family Unity

Her mother was terminally sick and there were days Magdalena would have to help her mother walk as they fled to hide in the hillside. When Magdalena felt safe enough to attend school, she would ride a motorbike an hour into town. Eventually, violence overtook her community and her mother passed away.

Magdalena fled, hoping to make it to California's Central Valley where her sister lived. She was detained at the US border and held in what is commonly referred to as the "ice box", an immigration detention facility. Once released to her sister, she received notice she was in deportation proceedings before the San Francisco Immigration Court; they called CRLAF for help.

CRLAF took on Magdalena’s case and filed for guardianship, ensuring Magdalena's sister could enroll her in school and link her to essential medical care. CRLAF helped stop the deportation proceedings and successfully obtained immigration relief for Magdalena.


Today, Magdalena is almost completely proficient in English, thanks to the practice she gets with her sister and nieces. She's getting stellar grades in school and excitedly talks about the prospect of college one day. Fortunately, Magdalena can also access Medi-Cal to receive critical counseling services to teach positive coping skills as she works through the trauma of her past. Most recently, CRLAF represented Magdalena in her successful application for permanent residence!


Unfortunately, Magdalena’s story is not unique. There are thousands of children and families living in California – here for the chance at a better life. But they need help – help navigating the complex federal and state court systems.  -- -- You can help protect their human rights. Donate today.

CRLAF’s Immigration + Immigrant Integration Project provides informational services, high quality legal assistance, advocacy support, and community capacity building to provide immigrants the opportunity to be a part of the decision making process that affects their families and community.


To reach the immigration unit, please call (916) 446-7901.

Meet Magdalena – -- she lived in a pueblo in Mexico that was taken over by a drug cartel. At 12 years old she watched her father leave at dawn every day to guard the ranch with other resistors. He taught her to hide in the nearby hillside when she heard gunshots.