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. Gang members had extorted their father and threatened the entire family with death if he did not pay. Because of the threats to their lives from the gang members, Lucas and Daisy are eligible for asylum. 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.
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Lucas and Daisy are 9- and 5-year-old siblings from El Salvador. In 2019, gang members 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 members 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 gang members 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.
· Timeline: Lucas and Daisy have no hearings scheduled. File asylum application expeditiously.
· 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 email@example.com.
*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy