After many years of struggle, Jose Correa Villalonga, a native of Venezuela, has finally received a green card that allows him to become a permanent legal citizen of the United States. Helene Villalonga, his mother, is a known activist against the current Hugo Chavez government who fled the country 13 years ago (in 2000) to try and find a safer life for herself and for her child, the Miami Herald says. They tried to seek out political asylum within the United States at the time, but were poorly represented by two lawyers.
Jose Correa Villalonga graduated from high school complete with honors six years ago, back in 2007, and was even accepted – with a scholarship – to the Florida International University. However, his status as an undocumented citizen stopped him from being able to make use of the award and he instead attended college in Canada, where he was again offered a number of scholarships at several different universities.
Whilst driving from Florida to Canada Villalonga was pulled over by police and told of a deportation order that his family had never been informed about by their lawyer. He spent two months in several prisons before being deported to Venezuela, during which time he was assaulted by two men.
Helene Villalonga played a key role in her son being able to gain US citizenship, campaigning for his return on safety grounds and finally being able to convince the authorities to expedite his case. “I feel very fortunate for this,” Jose says.