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Asylum, T Visa, U Visa: Severely Abused Guatemalan Child Is Eligible for Several Forms of Immigration Relief

Ignacio* is a 15-year-old boy from Guatemala. For as long as he can remember, Ignacio endured torturous abuse and neglect at the hands of his father both in Guatemala and here in the United States. On one occasion, Ignacio’s father broke Ignacio’s arm while they were living in Alabama, and police removed Ignacio from his father’s custody. Ignacio is eligible for asylum, the T visa for human trafficking victims, and the U visa for survivors of crime in the United States. The government is currently detaining Ignacio in Virginia.

 

CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.

 

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Ignacio* is a 15-year-old boy from Guatemala. Ignacio grew up on a humble ranch located on a coffee plantation with his six siblings, parents, and grandparents. For as long as he can remember, Ignacio’s father severely abused Ignacio and his siblings. After one particularly atrocious beating, Ignacio stopped going to school because he began experiencing cognitive problems and memory loss. Now in interviews, Ignacio sometimes provides conflicting versions of the same event, and has difficulty providing a consistent timeline. Although these issues may make Ignacio’s legal representation more challenging, they are evidence of the abuse.

 

When Ignacio was 15 years old, his father decided to travel to the United States to work and brought Ignacio along.  One night, Ignacio’s father forced Ignacio to drink alcohol. When Ignacio refused to drink more, Ignacio’s father beat him, breaking his arm. The police arrested Ignacio’s father and placed Ignacio in the care of Child Protective Services (“CPS”) in Alabama. Later, after an incident with one of Ignacio’s foster brothers in Alabama, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) took custody of Ignacio and detained him in Virginia. 

 

Ignacio has struggled to adjust to life in the United States, likely because of his father’s abuse, his head trauma, and his limited Spanish skills. In Alabama, Ignacio brought a knife to school to protect himself against children who were bullying him, and the school asked Ignacio to leave. After CPS removed Ignacio’s from his father’s care and placed him with a foster family in Alabama, Ignacio’s foster brother accused Ignacio of touching him inappropriately and CPS transferred Ignacio to the ORR.

 

Ignacio urgently needs pro bono counsel to represent him before United States’ Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the Immigration Court. Ignacio is eligible for many types of immigration relief, including asylum, the T visa, and the U visa. Because of Ignacio’s cognitive difficulties, he will likely need a competency hearing to determine the protections he requires to proceed in court. 

 

The government is currently detaining Ignacio at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, an immigration detention center located approximately three hours from Washington, DC. Ignacio speaks Chuj de San Sebastian and some Spanish

 

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at (202) 866-9287, or jennifer@caircoalition.org, if you are interested in taking this case.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

Resource Type

Fear-Based Relief: Cuban Man Persecuted for Political Reasons Seeks to Avoid Deportation

Antonio* is a 43-year old man from Cuba who fled to the U.S. in 1995 after he was detained and threatened by Cuban police for protesting Fidel Castro. He is eligible for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture. His trial in Immigration Court is scheduled for August 1, so this case presents an opportunity for a pro bono attorney to gain trial experience in a short time frame.

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.

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Around 1995, Antonio was arrested by Cuban police for protesting Fidel Castro’s regime. He had been saying things like Fidel wasn’t a good president and Antonio wished he died. Antonio protested because he didn’t like communism. He was not part of an organized opposition group, but there were other protesters who were arrested as well. The Cuban police arrested him and the others and detained them for a few days. While he was detained, they threatened to hurt him and his family, and they didn’t give him food. He said they did not beat him or otherwise physically harm him.

After a few days, he was released, and told that he would be called for trial. That’s when he fled to the United States. After he arrived in the US, the Cuban police went looking for him at his mother’s house, and his grandmother’s house, in Cuba. The police said they were looking for Antonio and had an order to incarcerate him. His family said that the police have returned to their houses looking for Antonio multiple times, and that the police have come by as recently as 2 years ago when they went looking for Antonio at his mom’s house.

Antonio is afraid to go back to Cuba, where he fears the government will imprison and torture him for his political beliefs.

Antonio has a criminal conviction for possession of a controlled substance, from 2012. He was also arrested in 1999 for assault following a confrontation with a stranger, but it is unclear whether he was convicted of this offense or served any jail time, and he reports that he was suffering from bipolar disorder at the time.

Antonio is detained in Maryland and speaks Spanish. His trial in Immigration Court is scheduled for August 1, so this case presents an opportunity for a pro bono attorney to gain trial experience quickly.

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at Jennifer@caircoalition.org, if you are interested in taking this case.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

SIJS: 16-Year Old Honduran Girl, Abandoned by Both Parents, Has No One in Her Home Country to Care for Her

Paola* is a 16-year-old girl from Honduras who is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status because she was abandoned by both her parents. Paola's father abandoned her before birth, and her mother abandoned her when she was only 5 years old.  Paola wants to remain in the United States with other family members and go to school. 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

 

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Paola is from Honduras. Her father abandoned her before she was born because he was already married to a woman other than Paola's mother and had a family with her. Then, when Paola was 5, her mother decided that she no longer wanted her either. Paola's mother gave Paola away to the only person willing to take care of her, Paola's stepsister, handing her over without any documents or even clothing.  

 

For some time, Paola was cared for by her stepsister and her husband. Last year, the stepsister's husband left Honduras for the United States.  Shortly after a group of men threatened Paola, the stepsister and Paola also left Honduras for the United States.  

 

There is no adult in her home country willing or able to assume responsibility for Paola.

 

Paola is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by her parents.  SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest.  SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS.

 

In order to assist Paola a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the child meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit an SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the child at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, if required; and, handle the adjustment of status paperwork.  There may also be a brief scheduling hearing with an Immigration Judge.

 

Paola speaks Spanish and is living with her stepsister and a brother in Maryland.

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Director Attorney Michael Lukens at 202-870-5962 or michael@caircoalition.org.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

Advocacy and Asylum: Honduran Man Stuck in Detention Needs Help Moving His Fear-Based Case Forward

Carlos* is a Honduran man who left his country because he was repeatedly threatened after he witnessed the murder of a close friend. Carlos received a negative response to his reasonable fear interview in April and has been in immigration detention since. Carlos requested a review of this response, but he still has not been referred to the immigration court, and he has endured mistreatment and racist comments from the deportation officer who holds the power to refer him. Carlos needs an advocate to help him obtain his day in court and to present his claims for fear-based relief.

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.

***

Carlos* is a 31-year-old man from Honduras. In 2012, he witnessed the murder of his close friend, Felix*. Carlos heard the gunshots and saw the getaway car, and the killers know that Carlos can identify them. The killers threatened Carlos’s life on multiple occasions and shot at him in 2017. Carlos reported the threats to the police and tried relocating within Honduras, but neither strategy worked.

Carlos fled to the United States in February 2018. He has been in immigration detention since March and received a negative response to his Reasonable Fear Interview in early April. The Asylum Officer who interviewed Carlos found him credible but found that Carlos had not articulated a fear of harm on account of a protected ground such as membership in a particular social ground.

Carlos requested a review of this response, but he still has not been referred to the immigration court. While he has been waiting for his day in court, his deportation officer has mistreated him. Among other things, the deportation officer has called him a “monkey” and threatened that could slow down the referral process.

Carlos needs a pro bono team to advocate for a review of his negative finding, assist him in overturning the finding, then bringing his claim to court.

Carlos is detained in Farmville, Virginia, and speaks Spanish.

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at Jennifer@caircoalition.org, if you are interested in taking this case.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

SIJS: 9- and 11-Year Old Brothers, Abandoned by Father, Want to Remain with their Mother in Maryland

Giovanni* and Enrique* are 9- and 11-year-old brothers from El Salvador eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. When Enrique was less than two years old, Enrique's father left his mother and abandoned Enrique. At the time, Enrique's mother was pregnant with Enrique's brother, Giovanni. The boys now live in New Carrollton, Maryland with their mother and want to remain with her.  

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

 

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Giovanni* and Enrique* are 9- and 11-year-old brothers from El Salvador eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. When Enrique was less than two years old, Enrique's father left his mother and abandoned Enrique. At the time, Enrique's mother was pregnant with another of their sons, Giovanni.  

 

Their father moved in with another woman in El Salvador.  He does not send any money to Enrique or Giovanni or to their mother, and has only once called the boys in the 9 years since leaving.

 

After living with extended family in El Salvador, the boys came to the United States in March to be reunited with their mother in New Carrollton, Maryland. Their mother now has a third child and takes good care of all three children. The boys want to remain here with their mother.  

 

Giovanni and Enrique are eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by their father. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest. SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS.

 

In order to assist Giovanni and Enrique, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the child meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit an SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the child at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, if required; and, handle the adjustment of status paperwork. There may also be a brief scheduling hearing with an Immigration Judge.

 

The boys speak Spanish.

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at jennifer@caircoalition.org or 202-866-9287.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

Asylum: Honduran Father Fled Gang Threats with his 2-year old Daughter

Jonny is a 33-year old man from Honduras who is facing death threats from large gangs due to his family being targets of the gangs. After being shot at and hearing his toddler daughter be threatened, Jonny fled to the United States. This was after the police said they would not help him. Jonny needs a pro bono team to help him press his asylum claim in immigration court.

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.

***

Jonny grew up in Honduras and has seen the gang violence get worse as the years went by, and eventually become a target himself. Around 2012, his uncle-in-law was in a gang and was murdered. The gang believes the family killed Jonny’s uncle-in-law (because he was abusive of Jonny’s aunt) and the gang has targeted the family ever since.

In 2015, Jonny’s other uncle was murdered. It is unclear if this is because of the earlier murder or because another gang blamed the uncle for a child dying from a medical issue.

From 2012 to 2018, Jonny has been threatened by gangs. They have tried to hurt his family and said they will him and his daughter.

Fearing that the gang would kill them, Jonny fled Honduras and brought his 2-year old daughter with him to the United States seeking safety.

Jonny is detained in Maryland and speaks Spanish.

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at Jennifer@caircoalition.org, if you are interested in taking this case.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

 

SIJS: Teen Girl, Abandoned by Father, Wants to Remain with Mother in the U.S.

Ximena* is a 13-year-old girl from Honduras who is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”). Her father abandoned her when she was born, has never supported her, and rejected Ximena’s efforts to form a relationship with him. Ximena fled the violent conditions in Honduras that have worsened in recent years. She wishes to stay in the United States with her mother where she is safe and can go to school.

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings. 

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Ximena grew up in Honduras, where she lived with her grandmother since infancy after her mother left to escape abuse from Ximena’s father and to support her family from the United States. Ximena’s mother sent money to support her and called often to make sure she was okay. Although Ximena asked to meet her father, and family members tried to arrange it, her father never visited her and has never had a conversation with her. Ximena left Honduras due to the increasing violence against young people there; she feared that people in her community were preparing to harm her. Now that Ximena is in the United States, she is living with her mother and doing well. She wants to stay with her mother.

Ximena is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by her father. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest. SIJS requires three approvals: one from a state family court and two from USCIS.

In order to assist Ximena, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the child meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit an SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the child at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, if required; and handle the adjustment of status paperwork. There may also be a brief scheduling hearing with an Immigration Judge.

Ximena speaks Spanish and is living in Centreville, Virginia. 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at 202-866-9287 or jennifer@caircoalition.org.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

 

 

 

 

SIJS: Forced to work the fields at 12 and Abandoned by Father, Teen Wants to Fight Deportation

Oscar* is a 17-year-old Guatemalan boy who was neglected by his alcoholic father and forced to work in the fields at the age of twelve.  The money he earned was used to feed his siblings and mother, as well as himself.  Now that he is in the United States, Oscar is living in Maryland with his great aunt and doing well.  He wants to stay with her and needs pro bono help to fight deportation.

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

 

******

 

Oscar grew up in Guatemala, where he lived with his parents and three siblings.  Oscar's father, an alcoholic, worked in the fields about 1-3 times a week.  Any money he earned would go directly into buying alcohol. Oscar's father told Oscar that it was Oscar's responsibility to support the family.  At that time, Oscar was only 12 years old. Oscar began working in the fields at age of 12, giving any money he earned to his mother so that she could buy food.  His sister left the home for one to two months each year to also help earn some money for food.  Sometimes the family had no money for food. Eventually, Oscar fled to the United States.

 

Oscar' sgreat-aunt, living in Maryland, is now seeking custody.  He wants to stay in the United States with her.  

 

Oscar is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by his father.  SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest.   SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS.

 

In order to assist Oscar , a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the child meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit an SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the child at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, if required; and, handle the adjustment of status paperwork.  There may also be a brief scheduling hearing with an Immigration Judge.

 

Oscar's native language is Kiche, but he also speaks Spanish fluently.

 

For more information about this case, please contact Michael Lukens at 202-870-5962 or michael@caircoalition.org.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

Young Teen Wants to Remain with his Mother

Jose* is a 13-year old boy from Honduras who was abandoned by his father and came to the United States to be with his mother. He now faces deportation and separation from his family. He is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and needs help applying and stopping his deportation.

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.

 

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Jose’s father left the family when he a young child. To support the family, Jose’s mother came to the United States. Jose grew up with his grandmother, who cared for him for well but is now elderly. His mother sent money back to Honduras to support Jose.  Jose has never received money or emotional support from his father.

 

Jose is now living in Virginia.  He is eligible for asylum and for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

 

SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest.

 

For more information about this case, please contact Michael Lukens at 202-870-5962 or michael@caircoalition.org.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.