Children’s Asylum: Guatemalan boy fears covid-related discrimination, threats, and targeted violence.

Sergio* is a 17-year-old boy from Guatemala. Sergio is afraid to return to Guatemala because of potential persecution for being a ‘contagiado’ (infected person). Even though Sergio has not tested positive for COVID-19, people coming from a country with high COVID-19 cases have been facing discrimination, threats, and violence in Guatemala. More specifically, people in Guatemalan Mayan villages have threatened repatriated migrants with lynching, burning their homes, attacking migrants’ families, and even burning the migrants out of fear they will spread the virus. To avoid this violence, Sergio is looking for an attorney to represent him in seeking asylum.

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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Sergio* is a 17-year-old boy from Guatemala. Sergio is afraid to return to Guatemala because of potential persecution for being a ‘contagiado’ (infected person). Even though Sergio has not tested positive for COVID-19, people coming from a country with high COVID-19 cases have been facing discrimination, threats, and violence in Guatemala. More specifically, people in Guatemalan Mayan villages have threatened repatriated migrants, who are perceived as infected, with lynching, burning their homes, attacking migrants’ families, and even burning the migrants out of fear they will spread the virus.

 

The government in Guatemala has been inadequate in handling the escalating violence and stigmatization of returned migrants and deportees. In fact, there are reports of government officials “egging on” the persecutors.

 

Sergio believes he will be specifically targeted if he returns because he is from a small village in Guatemala, where the majority of people know that he has been living in the United States for a year. Since the US has high number of cases, Sergio will likely be perceived as infected and thus subject to discrimination, threats, and violence. To avoid this, Sergio is looking for an attorney to represent him in seeking asylum. This case presents an opportunity to advance a novel asylum theory, supported by country conditions research and expert testimony, that could potentially help many similarly-situated children and adults.

 

Timeline: Sergio’s Master Calendar (scheduling) Hearing is 10/7/2020 at the Arlington Immigration Court. In response to COVID-19, the courts currently permit attorneys to attend all hearings telephonically.

 

Location: Detained in the DMV area. The detention shelter has a very solidified and organized system for communication with the minors remotely. Organizing appointments, getting signatures and photos, and other tasks relevant to this case are fairly easy to obtain through the program's case management system.

 

Language: Spanish (preferred) and Qeqchi

 

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

Resource Type
Sample?
No
Opportunity?
On