Like many other new attorneys soon after being admitted to the Michigan bar, Mya Marshall attended a Young Lawyers Section meeting. At that meeting—which was held at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Detroit—Mya felt compelled to take on her first pro bono immigration case with assistance from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC). Even though Mya had never handled an immigration case, with guidance from MIRC staff, she felt comfortable taking the case.
Mya’s client had been sexually abused for years after entering the United States at just nine years old. After surviving more than five years of sexual abuse, the client was able to confide in her family, file a police report, and courageously participate with the investigation of the crimes committed against her. Due to her helpfulness in the investigation against her abuser, the client was eligible for a U visa. Mya prepared and submitted the applications.
Unfortunately, in 2016, Mya suddenly passed away. Since U visas typically take about three years to process, Mya was not able to celebrate with her client as the good news rolled in last week. Thanks to Mya’s dedication and hard work, her client’s U visa was approved. The client will be eligible for permanent residency status in 2021!
Mya’s family is grateful for her lasting impact and commitment to access to justice, and will be setting up a scholarship fund in her memory.