Kris* and Sami* are 11- and 15-year-old brothers from El Salvador. When Kris and Sami were 10 and 14, a local gang took notice of their family business and began extorting their mother, Sabina*. On multiple occasions the gang came to their house and threatened Sabina, leaving her shaking and fearful. The gang threatened to kill the entire family if Sabina did not pay them the money they wanted. Sabina reported the threats to police, and the family fled the country to escape the gang. Kris and Sami are now living with their father in Maryland. Based on the gang’s threats to their lives, Kris and Sami are eligible for asylum and need an attorney to represent them at the Asylum Office and, if necessary, help them fight their deportation 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.    


Kris* and Sami* are 11- and 15-year-old brothers from El Salvador. They grew up peacefully in El Salvador helping their mother, Sabina*, run a business selling meats and sausages out of their house. When Kris and Sami were 10 and 14, a violent gang took notice of their family business and began extorting their mother for money. On multiple occasions the gang came to their house and threatened Sabina, leaving her shaking and fearful. Sabina told the boys that the gang was threatening to kill the entire family if she did not pay them the money they wanted. The gang that threatened their mother is known for killing anyone who reports them to the police. Nevertheless, Sabina filed a report with the police in which she included a third encounter with the gang that the boys had not witnessed. When the police failed to act on the report, Kris, Sami, Sabina, and the boys' half-brother fled to the United States to escape the gang.  

The family’s first attempt to enter the U.S. was unsuccessful, so Kris and Sami and their half-brother crossed the border together as unaccompanied children while their mother remained in Mexico. They are currently living with their father in Maryland. Sabina crossed the border separately and is being held by smugglers in Texas. The smugglers are requiring her to work for them to pay off the $7,000 they say it will take to move her to her family in Maryland. Kris and Sami are eligible for Asylum based on the multiple death threats they received from the gang in El Salvador.  

As child asylum seekers, Kris and Sami’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 them will petition the USCIS for asylum and assist Kris and Sami in their asylum interviews; if they do not win asylum through the USCIS process, the attorney will then represent them at trial in immigration court.   


Special Considerations: CAIR Coalition seeks representation for Kris and Sami only. However, their mother may be eligible for a T visa (for victims of human trafficking) based on her current circumstances, and the boys could be included in her T visa as her derivatives. An interested pro bono attorney could consider representing her as well. Kris’ and Sami’s half-brother, who shares the same father, lives with them in Maryland, but he did not live with them in El Salvador, and he does not appear to have the same eligibility for relief from deportation.  

  • Timeline:  Kris and Sami do not have any hearings scheduled.  

  • Location:  Montgomery County, MD (not detained)  

  • Language:  Spanish - will require a fluent Spanish-speaking pro bono team member or an outside interpreter 


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

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy  

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