Louis Bonilla (KNLP-16) is a chicken farmer, immigrant advocate, bookstore owner and full time daddy. His motto is “there are no problems, only solutions.” His favorite book is the The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass. One of his dreams is to make all guns disappear from Honduras. President Barack Obama is currently the person who inspires him the most, and his 3-year-old, Shoshana, is his reason to get up in the mornings. “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly” is his leadership advice.
“Attending the KFLA Foro in Panama, September 2014, energized me to work on issues related to immigration. Residing in Honduras, there is probably little I can do to assist efforts on the Mexico-US border or within the United States. However, there is much I can do to provide information and assistance to help people in Honduras who plan to go the United States.”
The items listed below were provided at my own expense and at no charge to the public. It is part of my community service to the country in which I live. Plus, frankly, I enjoy it.
- Successfully assisted a 63 year old woman who worked legally for 17 years in the US apply for and receive social security benefits.
- Sponsored an 8-times daily television commercial announcing the availability of immigration / visa consultation services (television ads stopped at end of December 2014 but I plan to resume it under a new format soon).
- Provided 150 consultations to individuals and families with general questions about the immigration process to the USA (September 2014 through October 20, 2014—stopped counting because it became too many to keep track of).
- Assisted 81 individuals with their visa applications (USCIS Form DS-160) and appointments at the Embassy of the United States in Tegucigalpa.
- Assisted 42 families with their applications for the 2016 Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery), which was open from October 1 through November 3, 2014. The DV lottery is a lottery granting 55,000 residency visas to families around the world from countries deemed underrepresented among the US population (for more information visit the US Department of State website at www.dvlottery.state.gov).
- Assisted 2 families and 3 individuals with their applications for asylum in the USA (USCIS Form I-590).
- Assisted 1 family with locating a male relative who crossed into the US illegally and was detained and imprisoned by US Border Patrol officials.
- Visited one of the centers for child deportees operated by the Honduran government. Based on my visit, news reports, and interviews with members of the Honduran Congress, there is a laundry list of items that are needed, ranging from toilets (yes, toilets) to clothing to psychiatric services to address the physical and psychological traumas that many of these children experienced during their journeys.
- Drafted a 2-page letter requesting asylum for Hondurans who arrive illegally on US soil. The letter is addressed to US immigration officials and documents the various reasons why Honduran citizens have a credible fear of torture or fear for their lives. The letter can also be tailored to address the specific cases of applicants (e.g.: family members murdered, gangs demanding extortion payments, etc.). I can provide the letter upon request but believe that it needs to be reviewed by US legal counsel.
- Provided the letter to 4 individuals who went to the US illegally, 2 of whom reported receiving court dates for asylum after being apprehended by US Border Patrol officials (the case statuses are not known).
- Assisted a handful of individuals with various other USCIS forms including applications for:
- Waiver on Grounds of Inadmissibility (USCIS Form I-601, usually for people who have been previously deported);
- Affidavit of Financial Support (USCIS Form I-864);
- Family-based immigration visas
- Purchased (and was reimbursed for) approximately 15 plane tickets to the US. Many people in Honduras do not have the knowledge, ability or wherewithal to purchase airline tickets due to lack of credit cards, internet access, belief that one has to actually go to the airport to purchase tickets, etc. In these cases I used my credit card and people simply reimbursed me in cash.