Martin* is an English-speaking 38-year-old man from Haiti. He fled to the United States with his family at 10 years of age after his father quit his job in the Haitian government and government officials set the family's house on fire. His family all have legal status in the U.S., but Martin’s application for a green card was dismissed because he missed an interview. After several criminal charges and some convictions, the government placed Martin in immigration detention and initiated deportation proceedings against him. Martin fears that the Haitian government would have him ‘disappeared’ if he returns to that country, as a background check upon arrival would reveal his family’s history. Martin is now seeking an attorney to help him obtain a waiver to permit him to get his green card despite his criminal history and also obtain protection from deportation under the Convention against Torture.


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.  



Martin* is a 38-year-old man from Haiti. He fled to the United States with his family in 1992, when he was 10 years old. His father had quit a job in government because he disagreed with the corruption he witnessed. In retaliation, government officials set their family home on fire. The family fled to the U.S., where the government granted his father political opinion asylum and his family derivative asylee status. His parents because lawful permanent residents (green card holders), and his sister is a U.S. citizen; however, Martin’s missed an interview for his green card, and the government dismissed his application in 2004.


Martin has dedicated himself to actively fighting his case, despite suffering from depression and anxiety stemming from his traumatic memories of his time in Haiti and his family’s flight to the United States. In detention, he has worked hard to better himself, completing a drug education course and obtaining his GED along with other certifications. His family is also extremely involved in supporting his case and corroborating his fear story.


While living in both Florida and Virginia, Martin has had multiple arrests and some convictions related to drugs and forgery. His criminal history may make his case challenging, but the fact remains that Martin is eligible for protection from deportation under the Convention Against Torture because of the likelihood that he will be tortured or killed upon his return to Haiti. The torture or harm would be on account of his imputed political opinion, his mental illness, and because deportees from America are targeted when they return to Haiti. Martin needs a strong advocate to help him apply for a waiver that will allow him to adjust his status to green card holder and to seek protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Consideration: Martin has an individual hearing on May 3, 2021. A pro bono attorney interested in representing Martin would need to obtain a continuance of the next trial date to ensure adequate time to prepare the case. CAIR Coalition has sample motions for continuance and for representation contingent on a continuance. 


Timeline: Martin has an individual hearing on May 3, 2021. In response to COVID-19, the courts currently permit attorneys to attend all hearings telephonically.

Location: Detained in Caroline County, Virginia. Attorneys can schedule private calls with detained clients rather than conducting in-person legal visits.

Language: English


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