14-Year Old Boy, Abandoned by Father, Threatened with Death in El Salvador, Wants to Remain with Mother in Maryland

Emiliano*, a 14-year-old boy from El Salvador, is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status ("SIJS") and asylum.  His father abandoned him when he was 2-years old and neither contacted nor supported him or his mother since. Emiliano fled his home country when gangs began recruiting him, threatening his life if he refused to join. He fears returning to his home country. Emiliano hopes to stay in the United States with his mother where he 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.



Emiliano grew up in El Salvador with his mother.  His father abandoned his family when Emilio was 2 years old.  Emiliano has never met his father.  When his mother came to the U.S. in 2014, seeking a way to support her family, Emiliano remained in El Salvador, living with his maternal grandparents.


Beginning in April, gangs in El Salvador began following him to school and waiting when he got off the bus at the end of the school day. The gangs repeatedly tried to recruit him;   at one point seven people attacked him and told him they would kill him if he refused to join.  Emiliano fled to the U.S. the day after the same gang came to his home in the middle of the night, demanding entry. 


Emiliano fears returning to El Salvador.  He fears not only the gangs, but the police who have killed other young boys who have been forcibly recruited. Emiliano's mother lives in Maryland and is prepared to provide for him and to testify on his behalf in any hearing.  Now that he is safely in the United States, Emiliano is living with his mother and doing well. He wants to stay with her.


Emiliano 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.


He is also eligible for asylum and the pro bono team will want to file for both forms of relief.


Emiliano speaks Spanish.


For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Director Michael Lukens at michael@caircoalition.org.


*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy