Teenager Mistaken for Gang Member by Salvadoran Police Fears Torture If Deported

Alfonso* is a 19-year-old youth from El Salvador who has suffered chronic abuse at the hands of Salvadoran police due to mistaken identity. Since he was 13, the Salvadoran police believed that he was a member of a gang, and beat him many times because of this assumption. Alfonso needs an attorney to represent him in seeking protection under the  Convention Against Torture in his upcoming deportation proceedings.


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.




Alfonso* is a 19-year-old youth from El Salvador. He was targeted and harmed by police many times in El Salvador on the basis of mistaken identity. He recalls being beaten by the Salvadoran police over 10 times between the ages of 13 and 15, and believes this is because the police thought he was a gang member. During the beatings, the police asked him multiple times where certain members of a local gang were, but Alfonso was not involved in the gang and could not give them any answers. He recalls that the police beatings took place over about 2 years, beginning when he was around 13 years old. He is eligible for protection and relief from deportation under the Convention Against Torture.


Alfonso has pending marijuana-related charges but no criminal convictions. He also has family here in the U.S. who want to support him in his case.


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


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.