Salvadoran Man Fears Persecution on Account of His Family Ties To a Police Officer

Javier* is a 28-year-old man from El Salvador who fled his home country for the United States in 2016. A gang had tried to use him to kill his cousin, a member of the police force. They told him that they would kill him if he refused to help them perpetrate the murder of this member of his family. Javier is eligible for Withholding of Removal or Protection under the Convention against Torture and needs an attorney to present these defenses to his 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.



Javier* has been persecuted by a gang on account of his family ties to his cousin, who is a Salvadoran police officer who was working undercover to infiltrate gangs. Although Javier had received some general threats for refusing gang recruitment in the past, the intensity and danger escalated a great deal when the gang decided to use Javier as a pawn in their plan to kill his cousin. The gang kidnapped Javier, took him to an abandoned house, and threatened him at gunpoint. While they held him hostage, the gang members told him that he needed to get them access his cousin. The gang let Javier go only because he lied and said he would. After he was freed, Javier went straight to his cousin to tell him about the danger he was in, and the police picked both men up to hide them in the middle of the night. Javier then unsuccessfully attempted internal relocation multiple times before he had to flee El Salvador.


There are a few challenging aspects of Javier’s case that make it particularly important to find an attorney to represent him. First, a recent opinion issued by the Attorney General (Matter of L-E-A-) purports to severely restrict the ability of immigrants with family-based fear from receiving relief from deportation. Second, Javier lived in Guatemala without status for roughly two years, which potentially implicates the firm resettlement bar, but Javier never had any status in Guatemala and has no legal right to return there. Third, Javier was charged with speeding on a highway in December 2016, and it appears that he did not attend his court hearing for this charge. Javier also said he was involved in a bar fight in 2019, but CAIR Coalition was unable to confirm any criminal charges stemming from this incident.


Javier is detained in Farmville, Virginia, and speaks Spanish.


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


*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.