Private Immigration Bill
The Lozano Siblings
Shawn Sedaghat :
It was perhaps because of this passion, that the very first case I took on was that of the Lozano siblings. In 1997, I read an article in the Los Angeles times about 3 siblings. Fauricio,
Sergio and Ana Lozano, from El Salvador, who had arrived in Los Angeles and had been apprehended at the airport as being here without the necessary documentation. They had been part of
their mother's application, to reside permanently in the United States, which was filed for by the youngsters’ grandmother. However, prior to the family's arrival here, their mother Ana
Ruth died in El Salvador after receiving a visa for her and her three teenagers; something they had waited 8 years. Their grandmother Zoila Lozano brought the teens home to LA where they were told by
the immigration authorities that the visa was cancelled with their mother’s death and that they had to return to El Salvador where only their abusive father remained.
I represented this family on a pro bono basis, which means at no cost. Although the younger children could obtain benefits if they were found eligible under the Special Juvenile Immigrant category, after they were made wards of the children's court, the older brother was already over 18, and could not meet the eligibility requirement due to that. The 2 younger siblings eventually, and after much hard work, obtained their permanent residency through the Special Juvenile Status, but for Sergio, the only remaining possibility was a "private bill". In other words, a law that would apply to only him, granting him permanent residency. This private bill was proposed by senator Diane Feinstein in 2000 and soon thereafter, Sergio was a permanent resident of the United States. Obtaining this was one of the most memorable days for me as a lawyer, and it happened so early in my career.