Growing Through Perseverance: Finding hope in new directions
November 23, 2022
Adriana Burgos and her husband Luis Diaz were working for the Attorney General of El Salvador when they started getting concerning anonymous threats. Their legal work and financial analysis for the money laundering department had drawn the attention of the mafia. After the very government they had served for years failed to respond to their calls for support and protection, they reached out to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for help. Through IOM, they were able to safely make their way to the United States in August of 2021 and become IILA clients. They were greeted at the airport by their IILA case manager, Jaime.
When they first arrived, Adriana and Luis found it difficult to adjust to their new environment. Adriana had learned basic English in El Salvador but needed to quickly increase her proficiency to navigate rebuilding her life in the U.S. They each were able to quickly start entry level jobs through IILA’s Matching Grant program and were willing to put in hard hours to support themselves. Adriana started as a restaurant team member and did everything from cleaning floors and bathrooms to serving as a cashier. Luis took a position in retail and then drove a truck for a local warehouse.
It took a few months before they each were able to transition into other roles that better fit their passions and skills. Adriana became an IILA case manager for the Matching Grant program, where she has been using her talents in working with people to build strong relationships with clients and address their needs. After nine months on staff with IILA, she is very proud of all that she has learned and is doing to help others like her. Luis joined the legal division of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Los Angeles (CHIRLA), where he now helps others become citizens and renew their DACA status.
Adriana and Luis have been staying with family since they arrived and hope to be able to move into their own home in the future. In time, Adriana also hopes to earn an advanced degree, perhaps in social work or a related field. For now, they are grateful for the assistance and opportunities that IILA has provided and are thriving in their growing careers of service.