Inter-American Development Bank Volunteer Helps Prevent Deportation of 26 Year Resident
Maria de Gador Manzano-Guillen, an attorney with the Inter-American Development Bank, served as pro bono co-counsel, along with CAIR Coalition's Legal Director, Liz McGrail, in the case of Mr. AR, a native of Honduras who immigrated to the United States in 1982 at the age of 14. Mr. AR faced deportation to a country he left over two decades ago because of minor drug use. Despite being stricken with polio at the age of eight months which left him physically weak with a pronounced limp, Mr. AR maintained a steady work history in the years after graduating from high school and is known among his family and friends as a kind, hard-working and generous person who is always willing to help out others. Both Mr. AR's mother and brother are U.S. citizens and his brother is a U.S. Marine who has served in Iraq. Mr. AR's family feared that if he were forced to return to Honduras he would not find work because of his disability and would have no way to support himself and no family there to help him.
Mr. AR admitted that his drug use was a mistake and he deeply regretted his lack of good judgment. However, with Ms. Manzano-Guillen's help he was able to demonstrate to the immigration court that his positive contributions to his family and community outweighed his mistakes. A number of his family members and friends came to court to testify on his behalf or provided affidavits in support of his application for cancellation of removal. Mr. AR and his family very much appreciate all the time and energy Ms. Manzano-Guillen devoted to his case. According to Ms. Manzano-Guillen, "the opportunity to take this case has been an excellent way to give back to the community and make a difference protecting the legal rights of a fellow immigrant while gaining invaluable professional experience. I am very grateful to CAIR Coalition for the excellent mentoring and invaluable coaching that they provided me. It was highly rewarding to work with such committed professionals, and I look forward to continue working with them."