Finding Love and Home in New York

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Alexander (left) and Luis (right)

In 2007, Alexander came to the US to work as a lifeguard for the summer. After the season was over he moved to New York to pursue a degree in music education. Alexander, a classically trained opera singer who studied at the National School of Music in his native Sofia, Bulgaria, had always dreamed of studying opera in New York. He spent a year and a half learning English at the American Language Communications Center. After becoming highly proficient in English, Alexander passed the TOEFL test which allowed him to apply to the Music Education program at the Manhattan School of Music. He was accepted but unfortunately, he could not afford the expensive tuition and decided to study privately.

 After having achieved so much for such a short period of time in the US, returning to Bulgaria was simply not an option. “Being gay in Bulgaria was a major issue for my progress in school and at work.” Alexander explains.” And here it just did not matter. I worked very hard and people cherished this most of all in me.” With no opportunity for a secure existence in his country of origin, Alexander decided to remain in New York and live the life he had never even dreamed of.

     During this time, Alexander met Luis, the love of his life, who also came from an immigrant background. Luis was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York when he was four years old, becoming a naturalized citizen at the age of five. After dating and living together for five years, naturally, Alexander and Luis got married. While they always intended to obtain a more permanent immigration status for Alexander, the situation became even more urgent when Donald Trump became President. His policies towards immigrants caused Alexander to “live in constant fear.” recalls Alexander. “I even had a panic attack”.

     With newfound political urgency, Luis and Alexander began searching for a lawyer who could assist them with adjusting Alexander’s immigration status. After multiple rejections from lawyers who were unwilling to handle the complexity of the couple’s case, they were finally referred to NY JFON, where they found legal assistance with NY JFON Managing Attorney Thomas “TJ” Mills. “TJ was extremely helpful. Everything was clearly mapped out for us,” the couple explains. When describing their immigration interview, Luis even quipped that “Thanks to TJ, we were actually too prepared.”

     In September of 2021, Alexander finally obtained residency based on his marriage to Luis. Thanks to TJ’s help, Alexander no longer lives in fear. Today, Luis and Alexander live in Queens with their Airedale Terrier, Socrates. Additionally, Alexander is planning on going to his first opera master class abroad. this summer. “On a personal level, things have evolved so much and gone to the next level, and it is absolutely amazing,” says Alexander. “We are extremely grateful to TJ and his impeccable skills and support .”

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