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Mother and son reunited after long immigration process

In 2004, a Vietnamese woman came to the United States looking for a better life for her and her son. She arrived on a fiancée visa, engaged to marry a Vietnamese American. Unfortunately, she left her son behind with his biological father. She says "it was an ordeal" for her to come to the U.S. without her son at the request of the boy's father, but she had great hopes for the future.

Eventually, her ordeal changed course here in the U.S. Her husband became abusive, and she was forced to separate from her U.S. citizen husband. He responded by dropping the petition for the woman's legal residency in the U.S. With help, she sought a special visa that would allow her to stay in the United States, a visa designated for the victims of abuse.

Meanwhile, her son's biological father abandoned the boy in Vietnam to start his own new life. The boy moved in with his grandparents, who later died, leaving the boy alone. The boy was 12-years-old. His mother sent him money that covered expenses. The boy eventually graduated from high school.

In 2008, the woman was granted legal residency in the United States and began her efforts to bring her child to the U.S. Time passed, with little word from immigration officials. After waiting for a year or so, the woman heard from immigration. They said they needed evidence that her son was actually related to her. Years earlier, the boy's biological father had destroyed evidence, such as photographs showing the mother and son together.

Immigration officials were on the doorstep of denying the woman's petition to reunite with her son, but allowed one final chance for the woman to achieve her goal. The last chance effort involved DNA testing. The young man hopped on a moped and rode 19 miles to a clinic in Ho Chi Mihn City, one of the few locations that offered such testing.

In November, immigration granted the mother's petition to bring her son to the U.S. In Early December, friends joined the mother at the airport, holding a sign adorned with the U.S. flag and the Statue of Liberty to greet the son, now 19-years-old, as he arrived on American soil.

Although the reunion took place on the West Coast, Florida immigration attorneys know that green card holders, or permanent residents, can petition for permanent residency for specified family members under U.S. immigration law.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Faces of Immigration: DNA test reunites family," Cindy Carcamo, Dec. 14, 2012

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