Celso Mesias, originally a Peruvian national, became a proud U.S. citizen the 22nd of December 2014 after being a Lawful Permanent Resident since 1999.
Before coming to CWS for assistance with submitting his naturalization application, Celso sought the help of a lawyer who took his money and did not properly submit the necessary paperwork. He was scammed. Celso waited years before considering applying for citizenship again because he was afraid there might be legal consequences from the lawyer's misaction.
While Celso waited to fulfill his dream of becoming an American citizen, he became involved in the Lancaster community. He has met several Congressmen and has spent time working for one of the Spanish Civic Associations of the county. Then, this past fall, Celso contacted the CWS Immigration Legal Services Program.
Audrey Lopez, CWS Lancaster's Citizenship and Integration Paralegal, was fortunate to be the one to tell Celso that he was eligible for citizenship and could apply.
"I will never forget calling him to confirm his oath ceremony and hearing his cries of joy in response to the good news" recalls Audrey.
Although there were obstacles along the way, Celso's oath was finally administered in Philadelphia right before Christmas. His dream came true, bit it goes even farther. Obtaining U.S. citizenship will also allow his daughter to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status. In the end, citizenship has not only opened doors for him but also for those he loves the most.
Unfortunately, many immigrants experience scams similar to Celso. We can all be advocates in our community for those seeking legal immigration advice. Here are some ways that you can advocate on behalf of your neighbors.
1. If you know of someone who needs legal counsel in regards to immigration concerns, take the time to make sure they are not scammed.
Consultation appoinments can be made with the CWS Lancaster Immigration Legal Services Program by calling (717)-358-9728. Please leave a message!
Call (703)-305-0470 to verify that your representative is accredited or if your attorney has been barred from practicing.
2. Follow Celso's example and speak to your representative. Call 1-866-940-2439 to urge your representative to take steps towards fixing our broken immigration system in a way that is humane and just.
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