OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Latin Grammy Award-winning violinist announced that she has won her fight to stay in Oklahoma.
Angélica Pereira was born in Colombia but moved to Oklahoma when she was just 18-years-old after receiving a full-ride scholarship to Oklahoma City University.
Pereira’s immigration status was protected by her student visa for ten years. During that time, she earned three degrees from OCU.
She then joined the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, which qualified Pereira for a work visa.
Earlier this year, she took the next step and applied for permanent residency and a green card.
Despite dozens of support letters, including one from Senator Jim Inhofe, her application was denied.
The denial was a crushing blow for Pereira who has built a life in Oklahoma.
Pereira pays taxes and has a mortgage on the home she purchased, intending to continue her career in Oklahoma.
Following the denial, Pereira’s immigration attorney recommended she move back to Colombia to appeal the decision.
Following Pereira’s visa denial, Congresswoman Kendra Horn contacted United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request a review of Pereira’s case. After being contacted by Rep. Horn, USCIS announced that the case would be reopened.
“Angélica is truly a treasure and asset to Oklahoma and our nation. Her talent and contributions to the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and her service to our community are unmatched. We are fortunate she has chosen to call our state home. I’m pleased we were able to help successfully secure a review of her visa denial and will continue to do all we can to assist her in this process,” said Congresswoman Horn. “Angélica is an example of how our immigration system often falls short — she did everything by the book but fell through a crack in the system. I was honored to write a letter of support for Angélica’s initial EB1 petition and am proud we were able to work with her to re-open her case. Angélica’s talent makes her unique, but many other immigrants like her pay taxes and contribute to our economy and cultural life. They are doing it right and we should be making it easier, not harder, to stay in the country they call home.”
On Tuesday, Pereira announced that she was approved for an O-1 Artist visa, which means she will be allowed to stay in Oklahoma for three more years.
“The battle to become a permanent resident and eventually a citizen is not over. I will keep fighting! Thanks to Congresswoman Kendra Horn I get a second chance to do it. The greatest benefit of this O-1 approval, is that now I am able to keep fighting to achieve this goal while staying in my home and working for OKC,” she posted.
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