A message from ProBAR Deputy Director Aimee Korolev in honor of International Women’s Day


A flower grows out of a barren ground. The text International Women's Day sits above it in thick blue type. At the bottom, a white bar with the ProBAR logo.Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Annually, people from all over the world take this day to celebrate the women in their lives, highlight the unique challenges women and girls face, and remember the progress made to support women.  

I am honored to work for an organization that supports a gender-inclusive environment where we seek to support and empower women. Much of our work centers on how to help protect individuals from persecution and violence. Creating a pathway for women to have asylum protection remains a cornerstone of my passion for humanitarian immigration. Yet, this year I was reminded that we must balance advocacy with our client’s autonomy and strength.  

“Susana” is a Venezuelan woman and mother of three. Susana did not have a need or desire to come to the United States, but her son did. He came to the United States at the age of 22 seeking safety in the US when he was gravely injured in an anti-immigrant vehicle attack. He spent several months in critical condition and suffered permanent brain damage.  

Susana, with the help of the Texas Civil Rights Project, was paroled in the United States. She spent months caring and advocating for her son first in the hospital and then at temporary housing. ProBAR provided significant social and legal services, explaining legal options for Susana and her son to remain in the United States. However, without a family support system or access to public benefits, Susana was forced to make the difficult decision to return to Venezuela with her son.   

However, her son lacked a passport or travel document to aid in his repatriation. The lack of diplomatic relations with Venezuela made it incredibly challenging to obtain the necessary authorization. After months of diligence and determination, we obtained a temporary travel document from the Venezuelan Consulate and permission from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for travel.  

On the eve of the flight, we went with Susana and her son to the airport to get the tickets. After months of legwork with both governments to set up the travel and many hours at the airport, the airlines told us that they would not issue the tickets because it was a liability risk. Everyone, especially our clients, was devastated.  

At this point, I thought we had to start the whole process again. However, Susana did not give up. She went to the airport the next day. Without the support of ProBAR, she was able to get herself and her son on the plane. They are now safely reunited with family, and he is receiving the necessary care to live a fulfilling life despite his injuries.  

Through this experience, I learned a critical lesson from Susana’s heroism and resilience. She did not give up and relied on herself and her faith. Her strength, determination, and willpower have inspired and reminded me to recognize the inherent strength of our clients, especially the women we serve. While this case had a resolution unique to many of our other fights, it highlights the deep power of women.  

This year’s United Nations theme is: ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, and it is promoting the use of the hashtag #InvestInWomen. I hope you take today to #investinwomen and honor the women in our lives and our work.  

Thank you,


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