Indigenous Mexican Man Who Endured Discrimination at Home and Violent Crime in the U.S. Fears Deportation

Hugo* is a 45-year-old indigenous man from Mexico who speaks Otomi fluently and Spanish at an intermediate level. While he lived in Mexico, he was threatened and called names because of his indigenous identity on a frequent basis. Hugo was the victim of a violent crime in the U.S., and the convicted perpetrator’s family has threatened to retaliate against him in Mexico if he is deported. Hugo is eligible for withholding of removal because he fears persecution on account of his race as an indigenous Otomi-speaker and his membership in particular social groups including indigenous Otomi speakers and crime victims who report to the police. He is also eligible for protection under the Convention Against Torture. Hugo's individual merits hearing is scheduled for December 5, 2019, so this case presents an excellent opportunity to an attorney to gain trial experience in a relatively short time frame.

 

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.

 

 

Hugo* is a 45-year-old indigenous man from a remote area of Mexico. He grew up very poor, never attended school or learned to read or write, and worked in the fields from a young age. While he lived in Mexico, he was mistreated and threatened frequently on account of his indigenous identity. For example, people threw rock at his house, and they called him names like "retarded" on a regular basis. Hugo has lived in the U.S. consistently since 2006.

 

In 2018, Hugo’s brother asked Hugo to ask a man about a box of goods that the man brought to the U.S., from Mexico. When Hugo did so, the man kidnapped Hugo at gunpoint and threatened to kill him. Hugo escaped, and the assailant ultimately was convicted and sentenced for these crimes in Virginia. The assailant was due to be released in Summer 2019. Hugo has learned through his family in Mexico that the assailant’s brother, who lives in Mexico, has vowed to “make Hugo pay” for his brother’s incarceration. Hugo believes that the police in his hometown in Mexico will not protect him because they too are poor and accept bribes from people like the assailant’s brother.

 

Communication is a challenge for Hugo, and this is one reason why he needs pro bono representation. Hugo speaks Spanish at an intermediate level and is not literate. An Otomi dialect is his native language, and it has proven hard for the court to find a proper interpreter. As a result, Hugo has been getting by in court in Spanish. A pro bono attorney can help ensure that the proceedings are conducted in a fair manner, with Spanish being spoken slowly and clearly enough for Hugo to understand, and that the record is preserved on this issue if fundamental fairness appears to be lacking.

 

Hugo is detained in Farmville, Virginia. Hugo's individual merits hearing is scheduled for December 5, 2019, so this case presents an excellent opportunity to an attorney to gain trial experience in a relatively short time frame.

 

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at Jennifer@caircoalition.org, if you are interested in taking this case.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy