Donovan first came to see us to get help with his immigration status. He suffers from SMI and lives on the street. Meeting Donovan for the first time brought to mind Nathaniel Ayers, the gentleman in The Soloist. It's difficult to communicate with Donovan, he doesn't like to touch things and I always have a box of tissues on my desk for him. Donovan will answer your questions to the best of his ability but he is not very articulate.
Donovan needed help replacing his permanent resident card, however, his recollection of required information is fuzzy at best. Donovan's country of birth is Jamaica so it was decided to write to the Jamaican embassy in Miami seeking information on the type of visa Donovan entered the US with. I wrote the letter and Donovan checked in often waiting for their response, which unfortunately never came.
I found out quite by accident that Donovan was getting social security. He came to the door and asked me if I could assist him in calling the bank to replace his lost bank card. I told him he needed his account number and he produced his bank statement all wadded up from his pocket. I was shocked and assisted him in making the call. I relayed that his new bank card would arrive in about 7 days. I next saw Donovan when he arrived at my office door with his new bank card. I assisted him in again calling the bank to activate his card. This was such extraordinary news to me because knowing Donovan was receiving social security meant his status in the United States was no longer in question. He was obviously here legally and someone, somewhere knew who he was.
Donovan is still waiting, still in limbo.... I assisted him in filling out a G-639 which is a request for information from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. With Donovan's SMI, he cannot recall required information such as his Alien number, without this information Donovan doesn't stand a chance of replacing his Permanent Resident Card. If the USCIS cannot or will not furnish this information for Donovan, he is a man doomed to living on the street, he can't even seek assistance from agencies which could help him.. He will be a 33 year old man forever living in the shadows...
Try to think past Donovan's sometimes strange behavior, his disheveled appearance... wonder with me what happened to Donovan after he arrived here in 1996 from Jamaica.. what happened to his parents? What happened to HIM that enables a 33 year old man to receive social security... I would love to see Donovan get help for his issues... 33 is too young to remain locked in one's own mind...with no hope of change... no hope of a bed to sleep in..
I pray that in time we can help Donovan... such a simple thing... identification... to unlock the doors and break down the barriers for him.....No one should be forced to live as a non person!! One person like Donovan on the streets is TOO MANY!!