Keep Vicky in the US

Many in Rochester know Vicky Palermo (aka Vicky T) as a part of our community and music scene, particularly as a guitar player in Fox 45 and dance performer of all styles. Until now, only her family and close friends have known her backstory. Now she needs our help. 

Vicky's Story

Vicky's story begins in the early 90s when her parents wanted to adopt a baby. After it seemed like the adoption process to adopt a baby girl from Thailand had stalled out, they instead adopted a baby boy from Korea. Two years later, an infant showed up under mysterious circumstances. This was Vicky. She had no documentation except a Thai birth certificate of questionable authenticity. Not knowing what to do, and fearing that if they went to authorities she would be taken away, her parents took no legal action at that time [edit: I've been informed that they did go to an attorney early on in Vicky's childhood, but he ended up being investigated for unlawful practices and eventually had his firm shut down. It took the firm 9 years to mail back original paperwork regarding the case]. Instead, they loved her and raised her as their daughter. 

Vicky attended public schools and lived life like any other American child, unaware of her undocumented status, until the age of 16. At that point, she started working with an attorney to try to gain citizenship status or permanent residency. From then until now, her case has been in the court system.

During that time she gave birth to her daughter Chloe, who's now 10 years old. In December 2017, she married her husband Dave. Both Chloe and Dave are American citizens. In addition to her husband and daughter, her adoptive parents and brothers are the only family she has ever known.

Stuck in the Court System

When DACA became law, Vicky was able to obtain her work permit to legally work in the United States. She has paid taxes like every other American and has developed deep ties to the Rochester community. She's jumped through endless hoops of our legal system, including having to use her birth name of Anna Sungketkarn (now Anna Palermo) on everything the least bit official. Since she's done everything right, all of her family and friends have hoped that our legal system would do the right thing and grant her citizenship, or at least a green card. Unfortunately that is not the case right now.

After 12 years in the court system, Vicky is now being told that she will have to leave the country by November 23rd, 2020, regardless of the current global pandemic. According to her most recent immigration judge, she will have to return to her birth country of Thailand and live there for anywhere between 4 to 8 months while her husband files paperwork [edited to add: this is in reference to the I-130 form] to bring her back. While the judge and her attorney think this is a pretty sure thing, there's still a possibility that something else might happen with US policy in the meantime that would leave her stranded in a country where she has no family, no ties to the community, no job, and does not speak the language.

How You Can Help

On Vicky's behalf we're asking for your support. She has already paid well over $12,000 in legal fees {edited for clarity: this number includes both fees paid to her attorney as well as court filing fees]  in the past 8 months. To attempt to remain in the country, will incur additional costs. If she does have to leave the country, she will need to survive in Thailand without any income, so I'm hoping we can cover some attorney fees, and/or make sure she has enough funds to live off of if she does have to stay in Thailand while her case is pending.

This is a developing case, so we will post updates as they become available. If we somehow end up with a surplus of funds beyond Vicky's needs, we will make a contribution to an immigration charity.

If you can't afford to donate (or even if you can), please share this fundraiser far and wide. You can also help by writing your representative in congress. They can sometimes intervene in immigration cases. Please feel free to use the above details in a letter. I will update with a template when I have time to put one together.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Amanda Rampe
Rochester, NY
Vicky Tee

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