It was a long time coming for a 22-year-old Los Angeles woman who achieved US citizenship last week. She was smuggled into the country at the age of 10 after her parents sold her into child slavery in Egypt.
The woman’s journey included three years as a slave to an Irvine family before US Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated her case, leading to a run through the foster care system and culminating last Thursday in a ceremony that granted her United States citizenship.
The woman qualified for US citizenship under a special juvenile immigrant provision and her application was supported by county officials. It is an uplifting and happy story, but it is important to consider that many citizenship applicants are not so lucky.
Citizenship cases are not always straightforward due to the complex nature of United States immigration laws. The best place to start for anyone looking to immigrate to the United States or for those seeking non-immigrant or permanent resident status is with proper legal representation. Without the guidance and support of an immigration lawyer, many applicants will not replicate the rights achieved by the 22-year-old Los Angeles woman.
Her excitement was clear after the citizenship ceremony. “I went through something terrible, but right now I’m in a great place,” she said. “I can’t imagine anything greater than having my own life.”
She is now deciding whether to finish her college degree or to become a federal agent with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a job she said is her “top goal.”
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Sold into slavery as a girl, Shyima Hall becomes a U.S. citizen,” Phil Willon, Dec. 16, 2011