At GAIN, we value the efforts of every volunteer attorney that takes on a case; the work of our volunteers significantly improves the lives of our clients, and this effort deserves celebration. This season, we’d like to recognize the extraordinary team at Delta Airlines who secured T-Visa relief for a Mexican client. Ryan Langel, Fernanda Berry, and Regina Martinez of Delta Airlines worked tirelessly to advocate for a victim of trafficking who was brought to the United States under false pretenses, only to be forced into sex work. After a harrowing experience of suffering through multiple years of forced prostitution, the client was eventually able to escape her trafficker. With the help of Delta’s legal team, the client was later able to apply for immigration status, and was eventually granted a T Visa.
GAIN: How has your involvement with this case impacted you or your career?
Delta Team: Becoming involved with GAIN has impacted our careers as it has given us the opportunity to work with members of our department who are not in our particular practice group. It helped build a sense of community, by bringing us together to work for a common goal. Our positive experience has also inspired others in our department to work with GAIN.
In addition, our company has been at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking. Taking this case raised our personal awareness of the company’s global initiatives as a whole and gave us the incentive to join this fight. Suffice it to say, our client’s bravery is what gave us the unique opportunity to learn more about this issue.
G: What was different or challenging about representing this case? What was rewarding or positive?
DT: Like any worthwhile opportunity, we faced challenges along the way; most notably, gaining our client’s trust to share the details of her unimaginable experience. Although we knew that we had to fully understand her experience in order to do what needed to be done to provide a truthful application, at times we found it difficult to ask the tough questions. Although almost a decade had passed and our client’s recollections had understandably faded, it was evident that the painful memories still linger with her to this day. Through several meetings, which at times brought out the raw emotions that will no doubt stay with our client for a lifetime, we were able to better understand the facts behind her case and provide her the opportunity to obtain her visa.
Representing this case was extremely rewarding. Finally obtaining approval of her application was more than just a victory in the sense that we accomplished a goal. Giving our client’s family the opportunity to be present in the United States legally and eliminate the fear they had daily of deportation not only was a victory in a professional sense, but knowing we changed her life and her children’s lives is extremely gratifying personally.
G: Do you believe this experience has been worthwhile? If so, in what ways?
DT: In addition to being provided the opportunity to meet an incredibly brave individual like our client, this experience gave us exposure to an area of law that the three of us had very little to no experience. Fortunately, our lack of expertise was consistently met with the continued support and guidance of the attorneys and staff at GAIN. At every step of the way we could navigate the process in a relatively easy and effective manner because of the continued support provided by Alpa, Monica, and others. Working together, as a community in this fight against human trafficking, our client’s success has taught us that we can all make concrete difference in the lives of those affected by this senseless crime.