Living in poverty in Nicaragua with his mother and younger siblings, Roberto decided to find a way to support his family.
Roberto is a native of Nicaragua who was living in poverty with his mother and younger siblings. His family lacked the basic essentials, Roberto didn’t even have shoes. When he was 16, he decided to reunite with his father in Nebraska and find a way to support his family. It didn’t quite work out as he planned.
Upon arrival in the United States, the teen was taken into custody. His time in detention was the first he had ever seen running water. His remark on being in jail was, “I saw the water and thought I have come to a beautiful place.”
Roberto was released to reunite with his father in Nebraska, but he discovered his father had become an alcoholic. His father soon abandoned Roberto, leaving him completely alone in an unfamiliar country.
One of Roberto’s classmates at school heard of his plight. His family took Roberto in. A teacher learned of his need and referred him to Justice for our Neighbors -Nebraska. Virginia Maynes, JFON-NE Child Welfare Managing Attorney, was able to help Roberto.
Virginia helped Roberto successfully apply for special immigrant juvenile status. She was then able to terminate his removal case, which paved the way for him to gain permanent residency status.
As a permanent resident, Roberto flourished.
He graduated from high school and is now working full time, saving his money with plans to attend college. While looking forward, he has also looked back. He is counseling children in circumstances as desperate as what he once faced when seeking help.
We at JFON-NE, hope to see Roberto follow his dream of college and see him walk across the stage to receive his diploma. In bright shiny shoes.