ENTIRE FAMILY IS ELIGIBLE FOR ASYLUM FOLLOWING EXTORTION AND THREATS (Lucas and Daisy)

Lucas and Daisy are 9- and 5-year-old siblings from El Salvador. With the help of their mother, Lucas and Daisy recently entered the U.S. alone to flee from a gang that had been threatening them in El Salvador. This gang extorted their father and threatened the entire family with death if he did not pay. Lucas and Daisy are now reunited with both their parents in Maryland and need an attorney to represent them in an asylum interview, and immigration court if necessary. Because of the threats to their lives from the gang, Lucas and Daisy are eligible for asylum. Their mother is also eligible for asylum and is willing to file for asylum affirmatively. In addition to representing the children in their deportation proceedings, an interested pro bono team also would represent their mother in her asylum application.

 

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.     

 

 

*****

 

Lucas and Daisy are 9- and 5-year-old siblings from El Salvador. In 2019, gangs began extorting their father, forcing him to pay them money so they wouldn’t kill him. Although their father was initially able to pay the gangs, things took a turn after the police arrested the gang members who had been extorting him. A new group of gang members from the same gang came into Lucas and Daisy’s neighborhood, again demanding an exorbitant amount of money that their family would have to pay to not be killed. Although their father tried explaining to the gang that he had already paid the money they were demanding, they refused to believe him, and instead threatened to kill his entire family if he could not produce the money. Their father tried to scramble the money together, even asking his work for help, but to no avail. Knowing that the gangs in the region make good on their threats to violently kill entire families, he moved his wife and Lucas and Daisy to another house in their hometown, and then fled to the U.S. alone.

 

The gangs took note of the father’s departure and began confronting Lucas and Daisy’s mother, saying that they had unfinished business with the father. Realizing that the gangs might harm her and her two children to punish their father for leaving without paying, Lucas and Daisy’s mother traveled with them to the U.S.–Mexico border and sent them across alone. Their mother later crossed the border as well. Lucas and Daisy have since reunited with their parents in Maryland, where they hope to live free of the threat of gang violence they faced in El Salvador.

 

As child asylum seekers, Lucas and Daisy’s asylum process will flow through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency in the first instance and then possibly be adjudicated in a half-day trial in immigration court. An attorney representing Lucas and Daisy will petition the USCIS for asylum and assist Lucas and Daisy in their asylum interview; if they do not win asylum through the USCIS process, the attorney will then represent them at trial in immigration court.   

 

In addition to representing Lucas and Daisy in their asylum proceedings, an interested pro bono team would also assist their mother in affirmatively applying for asylum. Lucas, Daisy, and their father would all be derivatives on her asylum application.

 

·      Timeline: Lucas and Daisy have no hearings scheduled.

·      Location: Prince Georges County, MD (not detained)

·      Language: Spanish - will require a fluent Spanish-speaking pro bono team member or a translator  

 

For more information about this case, please contact Jennifer Grishkin, Managing Attorney for Pro Bono Coordination, at jennifer@caircoalition.org.

 

 *Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy