Karina Castillo

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Catholic Charities represented Karina in immigration court and coordinated her representation in family court. Catholic Charities first began working with Karina in 2015, as the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving in the United States had reached record numbers. Meeting with her at Terra Firma—Catholic Charities’ medical-legal partnership program with Montefiore Hospital—Karina received pediatric care and participated in a support group for unaccompanied immigrant youth facilitated by Terra Firma psychologist and co-founder, Cristina Muñiz de la Peña. After fleeing violence in Honduras, Karina thrived in the United States, achieving academic success and participating in a beauty pageant, where she was the only Black contestant. Karina is Garifuna, an African and indigenous people originally from the Caribbean, and is proud of her linguistic and cultural heritage. Catholic Charities filed Karina’s application for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which was approved, as well as her application for Lawful Permanent Residency (a “Green Card”), which was also approved. Catholic Charities also represented Karina’s three siblings and worked with the entire family to protect them from deportation. Karina graduated from a New York City High School and today is pursuing higher education.