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Courtney Brown, Director of Development - Casa Cornelia Law Center

San Diego, CA


A Story from CCLC - Each week, clients of all ages, genders,  ethnicity, and experiences bring their stories of pain and injustice to the attorneys of Casa Cornelia Law Center in the hopes that they might be able to pursue legal relief. 


Casa Cornelia is all too often compelled to share our client's stories of despair; however, many of our clients have gone on to achieve great successes in spite of their heavy burdens. Two women who have persevered despite their tragic circumstances inspire us to remain steadfast in our mission to provide legal services to those most in need.    



Martha received her visa with Casa Cornelia's support after surviving years of domestic abuse at the hands of the father of her children. From threats to physical violence, to imprisonment in her own home, Martha survived. Today, Martha owns a successful carpet cleaning business that she started from the ground up. Shortly after receiving her visa only five years ago, Martha immediately started to look for work. She took a job with a carpet cleaning company. Her work ethic and positive demeanor pleased the company's clients. After only three years, she decided to purchase her own industrial carpet cleaner and told a few clients that she was starting her own business. Her company grew quickly. Martha was forward thinking, hardworking, and fair. Most of all, she enjoys being self-employed. Martha models for her two sons that despite adversity, you should never give up on your goals. Casa Cornelia is proud to be one of Martha's clients.




In February of 2015, Casa Cornelia learned that Sara's asylum claim was granted. Sara is one of Casa Cornelia's transgender clients. Her life was threatened repeatedly as a teenager and well into adulthood for being transgender in Mexico. As a result of being violently attacked, she crossed the border into the United States and asked for asylum. After many months of detention, five years in proceedings, and a close working relationship with her Casa Cornelia attorney, Sara emailed this response when her asylum petition was granted: "I love this country so much! It's funny how I appreciate everything, even the smallest things, like just looking out my window in the mornings and seeing America outside. It's an amazing and wonderful feeling! I'm so, so happy and grateful! I could go on and on!"



Another Story from CCLC - In partnership with the Center for Social Advocacy (CSA) San Diego and San Diego State University, Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) identified victims of human trafficking and provided them with life-saving legal services.  Victims are also referred to CCLC for legal representation by anti-trafficking organizations. One such client is Eva*…



Eva took a harmless job cooking and cleaning for a gentleman in Mexico. Months later, Eva’s employer persuaded her to move to the United States using false promises of increased pay. Eva thought she had been offered the opportunity of a lifetime – she would have the ability to earn higher wages and improve the quality of life for her family.   



Upon arrival in the United States, Eva’s contact stole her travel and identity documents. Eva quickly realized that she was imprisoned by her employer and trapped in a foreign country. Eva was required to work round-the-clock – cooking, cleaning, and doing whatever the gentleman asked – with little or no compensation. She could not speak English and had no money to return to her children in Mexico. After two years, Eva called a national human trafficking hotline, a number she found on a flyer at a grocery story.  The organization she called secretly rescued Eva and then connected her with CCLC. Together, CCLC and Eva submitted a T-Visa application, “a temporary nonimmigrant status given to victims of ‘severe forms of human trafficking’ on the condition that they help the law enforcement official investigate and prosecute crimes related to human trafficking.” 



Eva’s visa application is currently pending approval, and expected to be approved in 2015. 



Casa Cornelia Law Center is grateful to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus for sponsoring our mission and ensuring that these women and others like them can build a life free from fear here in San Diego.