Dominga has lived a hard life at just 20 years old. She came to the U.S. from Honduras as an unaccompanied minor having witnessed the murder of her mother, endured years of physical and mental abuse by her father, sexually exploited by her employer, and threatened with death by her mother’s murderer.
Although she, her older sister and younger brother screamed for help when her father locked them inside the house to beat them or sexually molest the older sister, no neighbor or police came to their aid. Despite the daily abuse by her father, she cared for him attentively during the final six months of his life.
At 15 years old, when her father died of skin cancer, Dominga found herself an orphan who had to fend for herself and to provide for her younger brother. To survive, she quit school, worked at a plantation for 12 hours a day, making what was equivalent to $5 in U.S. dollars. She became the sex slave of the plantation owner so that she and her brother could stay alive. She saved what she could from this job and fled the country when her mother’s murderer threatened to kill her.
Dominga stayed in the shelters for unaccompanied minors for several months before she was reunified with her half-sister and moved to a town 90 minutes outside of Houston. Just when she thought that she was safe from threats, abuse and violence, her half-sister kicked her out and cut up all her clothes, telling her that “you came with nothing and you are leaving with nothing.”
Alone with nothing, Dominga sought help from a friend she made in high school. Her classmate’s family took her in and finally provided her with a loving and safe home.
The family then connected Dominga with Catholic Charities, where she was able to receive help from the St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance, thanks to supporters like you. Her attorney helped her seek asylum and classification as a Special Immigrant Juvenile. More than six months after her asylum interview, Dominga won asylum, giving her a new start in life.
Dominga graduated from high school and invited her attorney to the graduation ceremony. A month later, her long-awaited “green card” finally arrived. When her attorney gave her the document and informed her that her case was then completed, Dominga broke down in tears. With your help, she is launching a new chapter in her life!