Susan grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone where she met her husband. Michael was from Sierra Leone as well, but was attending school in the United States and had a Green Card.
While Susan was in college, she was elected president of her college’s student government organization and, as a result, she was invited by the United States Department of State to attend President Obama’s Young African Leaders forum in Washington, D.C. Susan was very excited to come to the United States for the forum, but she was also excited because Michael proposed during the trip.
After Susan and Michael were married, Susan moved to the United States to live with him. There was only one problem; Susan did not have a visa to remain in the country. It was Michael’s responsibility to file Susan’s application for a Green Card so she could live and work in Massachusetts with him. Without legal status, Susan could not work, get a driver’s license, or apply for health insurance. Michael subjected Susan to years of emotional and physical abuse and refused to file the Green Card application for her. Susan was afraid to call the police to report Michael’s abuse because of her immigration status.
When Susan came to MWLS in 2015, she had found the courage to leave Michael and was living in a domestic violence shelter and looking for help with her immigration status. MWLS attorneys were able to help Susan complete and file a self-petition for abused spouses under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Susan’s VAWA self-petition was approved based on the abuse she suffered. In early 2016, Susan’s application for a Green Card was approved, and she became a lawful permanent resident (LPR). As an LPR, Susan has been able to get a job and make enough money to afford renting her own apartment. She is living her life independently and free from Michael’s abuse. Susan now works teaching autistic children, and has plans to pursue post-graduate education in Peace and Conflict Studies. She is currently divorcing Michael.