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NIJC Case List: October 1, 2018

NIJC pro bono attorneys report that representing immigrants in need of protection is one of the most rewarding experiences of their careers.  Pro bono attorneys fight for their clients’ due process rights, help them navigate the complicated immigration system, and ensure that they are not deported to a country where they face persecution and torture.

There are currently 48 men, women, and children who need pro bono representation in their immigration cases:

No matter what type of case interests you, the next steps to help an NIJC client are easy:

  1. Attend our upcoming training OR  view the webinar of one of our past trainings.
  2. Choose an NIJC client to represent.
  3. Utilize NIJC’s extensive pro bono resources and in-house expertise to prepare a strong case for your client.

To find NIJC’s most urgent matters, please search and find for “urgent”


Contact us to take a case:

A detailed explanation of the various types of pro bono cases available for representation can be found on NIJC’s website.  For more information about:
Detained cases, please contact Jesse Johnson at (312) 660-1681 or jejohnson@heartlandalliance.org.  
LGBT cases, please contact Aneesha Gandhi at (312) 660-1394 or agandhi@heartlandalliance.org.  
All other asylum cases, please contact Anna Sears at (312) 660-1307 or ansears@heartlandalliance.org
U Visa or VAWA cases, please contact Sylvia Wolak at (312) 660-1318 or sywolak@heartlandalliance.org.   
 


List of Cases Available for Pro Bono Representation:

click here for a PDF version of this list

Asylum Cases

Detained Asylum Seekers     

Because Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains immigrants at government expense, detained asylum cases are adjudicated more quickly than non-detained cases.  The clients below should be scheduled for a merits hearing about six-eight weeks after their asylum application is filed.  Although these individuals are often detained at county jails hours away from Chicago, pro bono attorneys will be able to conduct telephonic meetings with them in lieu of meeting in person.  NIJC has successfully represented hundreds of men and women in detention and will help pro bono attorneys navigate the detention system and prepare strong cases.

1. J. is a 36 year-old man from Eritrea.  His merits hearing is on November 7, 2018.  J. speaks English and is detained at McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, IL.
 
J. fled his country in November 2016 fearing persecution based on his religion.  J. is Pentecostal, which is an illegal religion in Eritrea.  J.’s father, an Orthodox priest, caught J. studying the bible and contacted the authorities in July 2014.  Prison officials beat and interrogated J. almost daily in order to force him to renounce his religion.  J. escaped from the prison in 2016 and fled his country a few days later.  J.’s brother-in-law is in the United States and is willing to assist in gathering corroborating evidence.  J. fears that the government will kill him if he returns to Eritrea.  All affidavits and supporting materials to J.’s case are due 15 days prior to his merits hearing.

Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

In recent years, thousands of children have fled horrific violence in their home countries to seek protection in the United States. Despite their ages and inability to speak English, these young asylum seekers do not have the right to appointed counsel.

2. R. is a young man from Eritrea. His next Master Calendar hearing is on April 4, 2019. Because he is an unaccompanied child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  R. speaks Tigrinya and limited English and lives in a northern suburb of Chicago, IL. (18-0125111) *Urgent*

When R. was around 15 years old, he left school to care for his ailing mother.  Soon after, the Eritrean government ordered him to enlist in the national military service even though R. was underage.  When R. failed to report for military service, they arrested his mother in his place.  Knowing that his mother was too sick to remain in prison, R. turned himself into the authorities in exchange for her release.  R. was then arrested and imprisoned for several months, and frequently tortured by guards.  Upon his release, R. was immediately taken to a military training camp and forced to enlist in the Eritrean National Service. A few months later, R. fled Eritrea by crossing the border into Sudan and eventually made his way to the United States.  Because he was 17 years old when entered the United States, R. was designated an unaccompanied immigrant child (UIC).  However, shortly afterwards, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transferred R. into adult immigration detention after erroneously determining he was an adult.  R. was eventually released from adult immigration detention on bond. Because R. age redetermination was incorrect and R. has a baptismal certificate proving his correct date of birth, R.’s attorneys should file his asylum application with USCIS as an unaccompanied child.  USCIS must receive R.’s skeletal application for asylum by December 30, 2018, but NIJC recommends his attorneys file the application prior to R.’s birthday on September 28th.  R.’s affidavit and supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after his application is filed, but may be delayed.

3. B. is a young man from Guatemala.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  B.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is June 11, 2019.  B. speaks Spanish and Q’eqchi and lives in Chicago. (17-0119024). *Urgent*

B. grew up with his family in Guatemala and worked in agriculture.  As B. grew older, he began to have problems with the gang members in his area.  The same group of gang members stopped him several times to threaten him and to try to coerce him into working for them.  The gang members had weapons and ordered B. to join them.  The gang was also threatening B.’s father, so he and his father fled the country in order to escape.  However, they were separated after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and his father was deported.  B. fears that if he returns, the gangs will harm him or even kill him.  USCIS must receive B.’s asylum application before he turns 18 on January 2, 2019.  His affidavit and other supporting documents will not be due until one week prior to his interview, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after his application is filed, but may be delayed.

4. A. is a young man from Guatemala.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  A.'s Master Calendar hearing is on December 4, 2018.  A. speaks Spanish and lives in a northwest suburb of Chicago. (17-0121636) *Urgent*

A.'s father was an alcoholic and regularly beat A. and his siblings.  At 10 years old, A. began working in the capital of Guatemala selling goods to help support his family, leaving home for three to four months at a time.  When A. was 13 years old, another vendor began beating and threatening him.  The vendor often referenced A.’s indigenous ethnicity while targeting him.  A. attempted to get help from police officers on multiple occasions, but because A. only spoke Mam, an indigenous language, he could not communicate with the officers.  Fearing for his safety, A. fled to the United States in December 2015.  A.'s one-year filing deadline for asylum has passed, but because A. is an unaccompanied immigrant child, he is eligible for an exception to this deadline.  A.'s attorneys should file his skeletal asylum application as soon as possible.  A.'s affidavits and supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview, which will likely occur about 4-6 weeks after his application has been filed, but may be delayed.

5. D. is a young man from Guatemala.  D.’s Master Calendar hearing is on November 6, 2018.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he is in removal proceedings.  D. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL. (18-0123201) *Urgent*

D.’s father is an alcoholic who severely physically abused D., as well as D.’s mother and his siblings.  He hit D. with belts and other objects, and threatened to kill the whole family.  When D.’s father began an affair with a neighbor woman, she began threatening D.’s family as well.  D.’s mother was sick and unable to protect D. from the abuse.  At the age 14, D. decided to flee the abuse and came to the United States in November 2017.  USCIS must receive D.’s asylum application by November 2, 2018.  His affidavit and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview, which may be scheduled 4-6 weeks after his application has been filed, but may be delayed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

6. C. is a young man from Honduras.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  His next Master Calendar hearing is on May 1, 2019.  C. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago. (16-0111224)

C.’s mother died when he was just four years old and his father barely cared for C. and his siblings.  C.’s stepmother frequently hit C., deprived him of food, and forced him to work.  As C. grew older, he noticed that gangs were encroaching on his remote mountain town.  C.’s older cousin was recruited by gang members who eventually tracked him down and killed him for refusing to join and attempting to hide in another part of Honduras.  Years later, gang members stopped C. on several occasions and threatened him if he did not join their gang.  After these incidents, the gang members came to C.’s house and attempted to take him by force.  Fearing for his life, C. fled to the United States. NIJC filed C.’s application for asylum with USCIS in early 2017.  The asylum office scheduled C. for an interview, but NIJC had to request to reschedule the interview and C. is currently awaiting a new interview date.  NIJC has already completed substantial preparation in C.’s case.  All affidavits and supporting materials to C.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which has not yet been scheduled.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

7. K. and L. are siblings from El Salvador.  Because they are unaccompanied children, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over their asylum application.  K. and L. speak Spanish and live in central Indiana. (17-0119846) (17-0119852)

K.'s father came to the United States to work when she was two years old.  K.’s father subsequently got a new family and abandoned K. and her mother.  L.'s father is in El Salvador and has not provided for L.  In 2012, K. and L.'s mother came to the United States leaving K. and L. with a maternal aunt.  Shortly after her mother left to the United States, members of the Mara 18 gang started sexually harassing K. and telling her to be with them.  K. refused to be a gang girlfriend and the gang soon began threatening her and her entire family.  During one incident, a gang member tried to molest her at knifepoint.  Fearing for her life, K. fled to the United States with her very young brother L. in May 2013.  Although K. and L. were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not filed the NTA with the immigration court.  K. and L.'s one year filing deadline has passed and K. and L.'s pro bono attorneys will have to argue that K. and L. warrant an exception to the one year filing deadline because they entered as unaccompanied immigrant children and NIJC will assist them with that argument.  NIJC filed K. and L.’s skeletal I-589 applications for asylum with USCIS in April 2018.  K. and L.'s affidavits and supporting documents will be due one week prior to their interview.  The interview timeline for their case is uncertain.

8. A. is a young man from Honduras.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  A.’s next Master Calendar hearing is February 12, 2018.  A. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago. (17-0114560)

When A. was very young, his uncle was killed over a land dispute and the attackers also targeted A.’s family.  A. and his family were forced to flee to another village.  When A. was 13 years old, his older half-brother was also killed in the same town they had fled.  Several years later, a distant cousin and gang members approached A. and attempted to recruit him, but he refused.  The gang members continued attempting to recruit him and became increasingly menacing.  A.’s cousin warned him that the gang would eventually take A. by force.  Shortly after, A.’s cousin was killed.  Fearing that the murder was connected with A.’s refusal to join the gang, A. fled for the United States.  A. filed a timely, pro se application for asylum with USCIS in 2018.  NIJC has already completed substantial preparation of A.’s case. His pro bono attorneys will need to supplement this material, all of which will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office.  The interview timeline for his case is uncertain.

9. A. and B. are brother and sister from El Salvador. Their next master calendar hearing is on September 13, 2018.  A. and B. speak Spanish, and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. (16-0105846) (16-0105847)

In El Salvador, A. and B. lived with their grandparents in a neighborhood controlled by gangs. When they were younger, their grandfather’s presence protected them from the gangs, but when their grandfather passed away in December of 2013, the gangs began to target them for recruitment.  Members of the MS-13 threatened A. with death if he did not join the gang.  Around the same time, another gang member began to stalk and harass B., demanding that she become his girlfriend.  A. and B. both refused to join the gangs due to their Jehovah’s Witness religious beliefs.  After the children learned of the gang’s plan to kidnap B. to force her to become a gang girlfriend, they fled in February of 2014.  A. and B. initially applied for asylum with the asylum office, but the asylum office declined to grant their applications, and referred their cases to the immigration court. A. and B. already have substantial documentation in support of their claim. Their attorneys will need to supplement and further develop that documentation and prepare their case for their immigration court merits hearing, which will be scheduled at their next master calendar hearing.

10. D. is a young man from Niger.  Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application even though he is in removal proceedings.  D.’s removal proceedings have been administratively closed and he does not currently have a hearing date scheduled.  D. speaks French and lives in Chicago. (16-0109723)

D. grew up in a strict Muslim household with his parents and siblings.  As he grew older, D. began to question his religious beliefs and eventually converted to Christianity.  D. started refusing to wake up for the family’s morning prayers.  D.’s father responded by regularly beating D. with a belt and forbidding him from attending the Christian church.  When D.’s parents discovered that D. truly had converted to Christianity, D.’s father punished him by forbidding any of the family to speak to D. or give him any food.  D.’s father began to beat him more often. D. believed his father might kill him so he fled the home and sought safety in the United States.  D fears that if he returns to Niger, his father, a well-connected businessman, will find him and kill him.  D also fears violence and harm from the large Muslim community in Niger.  D. filed a timely, pro se application for asylum in 2017.  NIJC has already prepared substantial corroborating evidence for D.’s case.  All affidavits and supporting materials to D.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which has not yet been scheduled.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

11. L. is a young man from Honduras.  His merits hearing is on May 20, 2020.  L. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL (16-0107442)

In the 1990s, prior to L.’s birth, the Mara 18 gang forcibly recruited L.’s uncle after threatening to kill L.’s grandmother and mother if he disobeyed.  In the early 2000s, L.’s uncle escaped from the gang and has lived in hiding ever since.  However, his departure from the gang resulted in the gang threatening and surveilling other members of L.’s family.  In the late 2000s, a criminal group affiliated with the Mara 18 began trying to forcibly recruit L.’s older brother and ultimately murdered him when he failed to comply with their demands.  The family learned that the group had targeted L.’s older brother because the boys’ uncle had left the Mara 18 gang without permission.  In late 2009, the Mara 18 threatened that they would kill L.’s family if they did not leave town and L. and his family went into hiding.  In 2013, they learned that leaders of the criminal group had been killed, making the family think they could return to their home safely.  Soon after they did so, however, the Mara 18 began threatening them again and shot at their house.  L.’s mother and sister fled to Spain, while his father fled to the United States, leaving L. living in relative hiding with other family members.  In 2015, the family learned that the Mara 18 was planning to recruit L. because of his relationship to his deceased brother and his former gang member uncle.  They immediately arranged for L. to flee to the United States, where he was designated an unaccompanied immigrant child.  L. filed a timely application for asylum with the asylum office, but his case was referred to the immigration court.  L. already has substantial documentation in support of his claim.  His attorneys will need to supplement and further develop that documentation and prepare his case for his immigration court merits hearing.

Asylum Claims Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In most cases involving asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity, NIJC has a significant amount of country conditions research already available.  Pro bono attorneys will need to update and supplement this material, but the greater portion of time will be spent working with the client to establish and document the individual aspects of the client’s claim.

12. Y. is a lesbian dual-citizen of Turkmenistan and Russia.  Her wife M. is also a citizen of Turkmenistan and will be included as a derivative on her application.  They speak English and live in Chicago. (18-0126129) (18-0125671)

As a child, Y. felt odd and unfeminine in comparison to other children.  In high school, she was the outcast, and was labeled a lesbian by her peers because of the way she dressed and acted.  Her classmates would put a coat over her head and punch her; her right eye is permanently swollen as a result.  The abuse that Y. experienced in high school compelled her to study abroad in Bulgaria, Hungary, and now, the United States.  Y. was last in Turkmenistan in 2010.  Y. fears violence in Turkmenistan where she will not be able to live openly as a lesbian and fears violence by homophobic citizens or the police.  As a political science PhD student, Y. is also afraid to return due to her political opinion that is against the repressive Turkmen government.  She is a dual citizen of Russia, where she may also experience harm and abuse because she is lesbian.  While Y.’s most recent entry to the United States was on August 4, 2016, but she merits an exception to the one-year deadline because she is still in valid F-1 student status.  USCIS must receive Y.’s application for asylum before she falls out of status in 2021.  All affidavits and supporting materials to Y.’s case will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after the date of filing. 

13. E. is a gay man from Honduras.  His merits hearing is on September 2, 2021.  He speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL. (16-0108967)

When E. was a child, the parents of other children in his hometown told their children not to associate with E. because they believed he was gay.  As a teenager, E. was bullied and beat up by young men in his town who said that he was not masculine enough to be a man.  E. reported one of these young men, J., to the local police in Honduras after he threatened to rape E.’s sister, but the crime was not investigated.  When J. learned that E. had filed a police report against him, he threatened to kill him and called him anti-gay slurs.  Fearing for his life, E. fled to the United States.  NIJC timely filed E.’s application for asylum with the immigration court in 2016.   All affidavits and supporting materials to E.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing in 2021.

14. A. is a lesbian woman from Kyrgyzstan. She speaks English, Kyrgyz, Russian and Turkish. She lives in Chicago, IL. (17-0118616)

From a young age, A. was mistreated by her father as well as by peers at school because she did not present herself as traditionally feminine.  At age 17, she visited the United States for an academic year through the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program; while here, she was in her first relationship with another young woman.  After she returned to Kyrgyzstan at age 18, A.’s father learned of her sexual orientation and beat her.  He also forced her to work with a conversion therapist who threw her into freezing water.  After this incident, her father denied her medical care.  A. saved money at various jobs until she was able to return to the United States on a J-1 Visa in May 2017.  She fears further violence from her family or from other people in Kyrgyzstan, due to widespread anti-gay violence.  NIJC timely filed her application for asylum in September 2017. Her affidavit and supporting materials will be due one week prior to his asylum office interview. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information. 

15. D. is a gay man from Macedonia. He speaks Macedonian and limited English and lives in Chicago, IL. (17-0114892)

When D. was 14 years old, his father caught him kissing a male friend.  D.s’ father called the boys derogatory terms, beat D., and forbid him from seeing his friend ever again.  D. secretly continued his relationship with his friend and other students learned of it.  D. was then beaten so badly at school that he passed out and woke up at the hospital.  When D. was a young adult, he was having sex with a man at a park at night when they were discovered by police officers, who recorded their information from their identification documents.  On another occasion, D. was beat up by strangers, called a “faggot” and thrown out of a night club where he was with several female friends.  D. fled to the United States in May 2016 and NIJC timely filed his application for asylum with USCIS.  His affidavit and supporting materials will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information. 

16. L. is a transgender woman from India. She speaks English, Malayalam and Tamil. She lives in Chicago, IL. (17-0118087)

About 10 years ago, L. began her transition while in her early 30s.  In the years following, L. was verbally abused and physically attacked in public on several occasions, including being sexually assaulted by a group of men.  She also was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of a male partner.  L. did not seek assistance from the police regarding these crimes because she knew that they would not protect her because she transgender.  In about 2011, L. obtained a multiple-entry visa to Malaysia to try to find a safe place to live, but ultimately found that conditions there were also negative for transgender women.  In May 2017, L. entered the United States on a P-3 artist visa to teach cultural Indian dance classes, and to seek refuge in the United States.  NIJC timely filed her application for asylum in August 2017.  Her affidavit and supporting materials will be due one week prior to his asylum office interview. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information. 

17. R. is a gay man from Nigeria. His wife and their two children are derivatives on his application. They speak English and live in Indianapolis, IN. (16-0109695) (17-0115954) (17-0115956) (17-0115958)

R. grew up hiding his sexual orientation and struggled to come to terms with his attraction to men.  In 2008, R. began a secret relationship with a man, O., which lasted nearly a decade.  In 2010, R. married a woman, S., in order to hide his sexual orientation from his family and community.  In April 2016, R. and O. were caught engaging in sexual activity by a neighbor, who cried out and gathered a mob.  R. and O. escaped the area with the help of a friend.  Once in safety, R. called his wife to inform her of the incident and confess that he was in a relationship with a man.  Shortly after R. fled the area, S. was taken to the police and questioned about her husband’s sexual activity, and she suffered a miscarriage shortly afterwards.  R. fled Nigeria in May 2016, entering the United States on a tourist visa, because he was afraid that he would be imprisoned or killed if he stayed in Nigeria any longer.  In August 2016, S. along with her and R.’s two children entered the United States on tourist visas.  R. and S. have decided to continue their marriage for the sake of their children.  R. was recently in therapy in the U.S. with S. at local church in an attempt to change his sexual orientation, as a result, S. is expecting a third child.  R. is still in the process of discovering who he is, and hopes to do so safely here in the United States. R.’s application for asylum was filed on December 1, 2016, and S. and their children were included as derivative applicants.  R. and S.’s affidavits and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to his asylum office interview. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

18. Y. is a lesbian woman from Ukraine.  She lives in Chicago, IL and speaks English, Russian, and Ukrainian. (18-0123334) 

As a college student, Y. was outed as lesbian after she refused the sexual advances of a male student who learned that she had a girlfriend named S.  This led to homophobic bullying including a beating by a group of her classmates who kicked her and stripped her clothing.  She reported the assault but when the police learned from her assailants that she is lesbian, they ripped up her complaint and would not investigate further.  She and her girlfriend S. fled to the United States and filed a timely, pro se application for asylum in December 2015.  Y. has since divorced S. who has been removed as a derivative applicant on Y.’s application.  All supporting materials for Y.’s case will be due one week prior to his asylum office interview.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

19. M. is a gay man from Pakistan.  He lives in central Illinois and speaks English and Urdu. (17-0117906) 

M. knew that he was gay from a young age but never engaged in relationships in Pakistan out of fear of violence and social ostracism.  In 2015, he came to the United States for a six-month graduate exchange program and started dating a man for the first time.  He returned to Pakistan to complete his doctoral program but lived in fear of people discovering that he had explored his sexual orientation in the United States.  He fled Pakistan in June 2017, in order to live freely as a gay man and is now in a long-term relationship.  NIJC timely filed his application for asylum in October 2017.  His affidavit and supporting materials will be due one week prior to his asylum office interview.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

Asylum Claims Based on Domestic and Gender Violence

Although many adjudicators have historically believed that the case law regarding domestic violence and gender violence-based asylum claims was unclear, these claims have a strong legal foundation, particularly in the Seventh Circuit, even after a recent Attorney General decision attempted to undermined them.  NIJC has been involved in federal litigation regarding gender-based asylum claims and attorneys who handle these cases will have access to a wealth of resources that will help them prepare strong cases for their clients.

20. R. is a woman from Guatemala.  Her two children, G. and T., will be derivatives on her asylum application.  Her next Master Calendar hearing is on February 20, 2019.  R. speaks Chuj and Spanish and lives in Southern Indiana.  (17-0121318), (17-0121553), (17-0121552)

R. married her husband when she was around 14 years old.  Shortly after their marriage, R.’s husband began abusing her.  He and his mother insulted her, threatened her, and beat her.  Her husband controlled her and tried to force her to miscarry.  When R.’s husband went to the United States, his mother continued to physically abuse R. until R. moved out of the house.  During this time, R.’s father-in-law attempted to rape her and R. learned that her son has serious heart problems.  R.’s husband was deported back to Guatemala, where he continued to beat her, attempted to kill her, and tried to kidnap her daughter.  When R. tried to escape his abuse, he threatened her life, and R.’s family and community did not support her in leaving her marriage.  Fearing for her life, R. fled to the United States.  NIJC timely filed R.’s application for asylum with the immigration court.  All affidavits and supporting materials for R.’s case will be due prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.
 
21. W. is a woman from Honduras.  Her daughter, B., will be a derivative on her application.  Her next Master Calendar hearing is July 11, 2019.  She speaks Spanish and lives in Northcentral Indiana.  (18-0123266) (18-0123311)

W.’s parents both died when she was a teenager. W. then moved in with an uncle who repeatedly sexually abused her.  Trying to escape her uncle, W. moved in with an older man, N., in a nearby town, who also began to sexually abuse and beat her.  On one occasion, N. attacked her with a machete.  W. became pregnant with N.’s child and when she was giving birth, he authorized her doctors to sterilize her even though she had not given consent.   After the birth of the child, N. continued to abuse W., telling her that she would be ‘his woman’ no matter where she went.  W. fled Honduras and entered the United States in late 2017.  The immigration court must receive her skeletal application for asylum by December 5, 2018.  All affidavits and supporting materials to her case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

22. O. is a woman from Guatemala.  Her son will be a derivative on her asylum application.  Her next Master Calendar hearing is on November 28, 2018.  O. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, Illinois. (18-0122794), (18-0122902)

O.’s partner R. became abusive after she gave birth to their daughter.  He would insult her, beat her, rape her, threaten to kill her, and forbid her from leaving the house.  O. once reported R.’s abuse to the Guatemalan police, but R. threatened to kill O. and the children until she withdrew her report.  After R. gave the police information about crimes committed by a criminal organization, the group began threatening R., O., and their children.  The Guatemalan government put the family in a witness protection program, but the group still tracked them down, shot their home, and murdered R.’s cousin while looking for R.  Fearing the group and R.’s continued abuse, O. fled to the United States with her infant son.  R. followed a few months after, but was deported to Guatemala.  He continues to threaten O. from afar.  NIJC filed O.’s application for asylum with the immigration court.  Her pro bono attorneys will need to argue O. merits an exception to the one-year filing, and will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

23. B. is a young woman from Honduras. Her son, F., will be a derivative on her application. Their merits hearing is on May 21, 2020. B. and F. speak Spanish and live in a northern suburb of Chicago. (17-0115101), (17-0115391)

B. left her childhood home when she was about nine years old as a result of continued verbal and physical abuse from her stepfather. She worked sporadically for a few years before she met her partner, G. when she was about 14 years old. Soon after, she became pregnant and moved in with G. and his parents. After she moved in with him, G began to physically abuse her. After the birth of their child, G. and his parents became very controlling towards B., rarely allowing her to leave the home and never with her child. G.’s abuse of B. worsened, to the point where he would strike her face with his fists even when she was holding F. in her arms. In late 2015, the Mara 18 began extorting G. for money, and eventually killed him because of his refusal to pay. After G.’s death, B. took F. to live in a small apartment in a very poor neighborhood. The apartment was in Mara Salvatrucha (MS) territory, and MS members began appearing at B.’s home demanding money from her and ransacking the apartment when she was not there, believing that G. had left her a large sum of money after his death. Meanwhile, Mara 18 members also began sending messages to B., threatening to kill F. because he was the son of a man who had opposed them. Being targeted by two rival gangs made B. feel as though she was no longer safe in Honduras, so in 2016, she fled with F. to the United States. NIJC timely filed B.’s skeletal asylum application with the immigration court in May 2017. Her pro bono attorneys will have to prepare B.’s affidavit and other supporting documents before her merits hearing in 2020.

24. G. is a woman from Mexico.  Her merits hearing is on March 16, 2021.  G. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL. (16-0109893)

G.’s ex-partner abused her and a criminal organization forced G. to pay a tax on her clothing store.  When the organization’s leader was arrested, the new leader doubled the tax and G. was unable to pay. The organization visited G.’s store three times.  First, they told her the new rules. The second time they tried to rob her. The third time they threatened her life.  They said they would kidnap or kill her if she did not pay the tax.  The same organization murdered G.’s brother-in-law for not paying the tax and said the same would happen to G. if she did not pay.  G. tried to report the extortion and threats to her mayor, but the mayor said he could not protect her.  G. fled to the United States with three of her four children, who are all U.S. citizens.  After she left, the organization went looking for G. and beat up her brother, causing her oldest child fled to the United States too.  NIJC timely filed G.’s asylum application with the immigration court.  Her attorneys will have to prepare G.’s affidavit and other supporting documents before her merits hearing in 2021.  G. has a 2004 firearms conviction that will not bar her from asylum, but will need to be addressed for purposes of the judge’s discretionary decision.

25. S. is a woman from Swaziland.  Her daughter and son will be derivatives on her application.  Their merits hearing is scheduled for June 16, 2021.  S. speaks English and lives in Chicago, IL.  (15-0099771), (15-0099890), (15-0099891)

S.’s husband began to abuse her in 2006, after he demanded that she live with his parents and she refused.  S.’s husband and his parents insulted her, told her she had to do what they demanded because they paid a dowry for her, and her husband slapped her in the face multiple times.  After this incident, S.’s husband began to abuse S. constantly and often called her a prostitute and accused her of sleeping with other men.  He also sexually abused her frequently.  S.’s husband also beat their daughter and said he was teaching her how to be a good wife.  In 2012, S. decided to cancel her husband’s access to her bank account because his reckless spending was leaving her with no money to support her family.  When her husband found out what she had done, he attacked her with a machete in the street, but S. managed to escape after a passerby helped her.  After this incident, S.’s husband took their children and placed them in the care of his parents.  He forbid S. from having any access to them and told her he would kill her if she ever saw their kids again.  S. tried filing for divorce, but the court magistrate told her that she should return to her husband and denied her request.  In May 2015, S. picked her children up from school and fled with them to the United States. NIJC timely filed S.’s asylum application with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials will be due prior to her merits hearing.

26. Y. is a woman from Honduras.  Her daughter, Z. is a citizen of Honduras and Mexico.  Their merits hearing is on July 8, 2021.  Y. and Z. speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL.  (16-0111109), (16-0111478)

Y.’s ex-partner abused her for nearly a decade.  He would regularly beat her, rape her, stalk her, and threaten her.  Y. fled to the United States in 2012 to escape his abuse, but did not have an attorney and was deported.  When she returned, her ex-partner continued to attack, rape, and threaten her.  She called the police to report him, but they never responded.  In 2014, Y. again fled to the United States, but was deported due to her prior removal order.  Y. returned to Honduras, where her ex-partner continued to harm her.  The Mara 18 gang also started extorting her clothing business after she stopped her sister from dating a gang member.  The gang demanded money, tried to recruit her, and threatened to kill her if she did not make the payments.  Once, a gang member put a knife to her chest and cut her.  Y. moved to another city, but the gang continued search for her.  Y. contacted a smuggler who promised to help her escape to the United States, but once in Mexico, he turned her over to a cartel.  The cartel held her for a year, sex trafficking her near the U.S. border until she became pregnant with a cartel leader’s baby, her daughter Z.  Shortly after Z.’s birth, Y. managed to escape, crossed the river into the United States, and asked for help.  Z.’s father continued to send Y. threatening text messages, promising to kill Y., Z., and their family in Honduras.  Because she has a prior removal order, Y. is currently only eligible for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture.  Her daughter, Z., is eligible for asylum, although their attorneys will need to argue that Z. merits asylum from both Honduras and Mexico.  NIJC timely filed Y. and Z.’s asylum applications.  Their attorneys will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting materials before their merits hearing in 2021.

27. U. is a woman from Mongolia. She speaks Mongolian and lives in Chicago, IL. (17-0116073)

U. grew up in the Mongolian countryside and moved to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, to attend university in 2009.  Shortly after she moved, she became romantically involved with her neighbor, E.  The couple moved in together and U. soon became financially dependent upon E. About five months after the couple moved in together, E. began to abuse U. verbally and physically.  He tried to control her behavior, demanded she do what he told her, and kicked and beat her.  In 2013, when U.’s brother witnessed E. punching U. in the face, he was able to get the police to come to the house and arrest E., something that U. believes was only possible because her brother was a man.  U. had attempted to seek help from the police on her own in the past, but had never been able to get protection.  E. was detained for a few days, but then released.  In 2014, U. told a coworker about the abuse and was urged to flee to the United States in order to escape the relationship.  U. surreptitiously applied for a visa, which was granted, and entered the United States on May 20, 2016 without telling E.  Later, U. called E. to tell him where she was after she heard that he had been threatening her friends and family trying to find her.  When they spoke on the phone, E. threatened to harm her if she ever returned to Mongolia.  NIJC timely filed U.’s application for asylum in May 2017.  Affidavits and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

Asylum Claims Based on Political Opinion or Opposition to Criminal Organizations

Political opinion-based asylum claims represent the stereotypical asylum case and are often more straight-forward than other types of asylum cases.  Asylum claims based on opposition to cartel or gang violence may involve a political opinion-based claim, but are typically based on the protected ground “membership in a particular social group” as well.  These claims offer an opportunity to navigate a nuanced and rapidly evolving area of asylum law.  NIJC has successfully represented men, women, and children from Central America and Mexico who fear cartel and gang violence and has the resources to help pro bono attorneys prepare strong cases for these asylum seekers.

28. B. is a woman from Mexico.  Her two sons, S. and A., will be derivatives on her asylum application.   Their next Masters Calendar Hearing is on December 3, 2018.  B. and her sons speak Spanish and live in north-central Wisconsin.  (18-0128550), (18-0128674), (18-0128678)

B. was the victim of long-term physical abuse by multiple partners throughout her adolescence and early adulthood.  Eventually, B. moved to a different part of Mexico and started working at a factory to support her four children on her own.  When her son S. turned 17 in late 2017, he faced the same fate local cartel members began forcibly recruiting him to come work for them.  The cartel members regularly threatened and physically assaulted S. They told S. that they would kill his mom if he refused to work for them. When S. refused to work for them, cartel members would forcibly enter the home and grab him in front of his family.  Fearing for S.’s life, B. decided to flee with S. and A. to the United States in April 2018.  The immigration court must receive B.’s application for asylum by April 23, 2019.  All affidavits and supporting materials to B.’s case will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

29. L. is a man from Guatemala. L.’s next Master Calendar hearing is on December 12, 2018. L. speaks Spanish and lives in Bloomington, IL. (14-0088061)

When L. was about 14 years old, the M-18 gang began to forcibly recruit him. They threatened to kill his family if he did not join them and beat him when he refused to comply with their demands. For several years, the M-18 gang waited for him outside of his school and, on occasion, beat him so severely he fell unconscious. L. repeatedly told the gang he would not join them, but they continued to threaten and assault him. In August 2013, a gang member saw N. on the street and tried to hit him. His companion told him to stop, but the next day, the gang member went to N.’s home, flashed his gun, and told N. to leave by morning or he would kill him. L. left Guatemala immediately and entered the United States on about August 5, 2013. He was apprehended by immigration officers and released from custody after he passed a credible fear interview. NIJC timely filed L.’s asylum application. All affidavits and supporting materials to L’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

30. Z. is a man from Republic of Congo.  Z.’s next Master Calendar hearing is on May 30, 2019.  Z. speaks French and lives in Chicago, IL. (18-0126661)

In March 2012, there was a massive explosion at a Congolese military arms depot.  Z.’s parents were among the casualties of the explosion. When the government promised to compensate the families of the victims, Z. filed the paperwork to obtain the compensation for his family, but never received the money. Z. believes that the government discriminated against him because of his ethnicity. After this experience, Z. started openly criticizing the Congolese government to his friends and coworkers. Shortly afterwards, government agents arrested and interrogated Z. They kept Z. imprisoned for three months, during which time they beat him nearly every night. A colonel who is friends with Z.’s family intervened and was able to get Z. released from prison. Z. then fled to the United States on a visa. After he fled, government agents went to Z.’s house, questioned Z.’s wife about Z.’s location, and beat her and one of their children.  Z. initially applied for asylum with the asylum office, but the asylum office declined to grant his application, and referred his case to the immigration court. Z. already has substantial documentation in support of his claim. His pro bono attorneys will need to supplement that documentation and prepare his testimony and any other witness testimony for his immigration court merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

31. Z. is a man from Honduras.  His two daughters will be derivatives on his asylum application and independently qualify for asylum.  Their next Master Calendar hearing is February 12, 2019.  Z. speaks Spanish and lives in Indianapolis, IN.  (18-0123478), (18-0125746), (18-0125747)

The Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang murdered Z.’s son for refusing to join.  When Z. identified his son’s body at the morgue, the police questioned him about the murder.  Z. told the police the MS-13 had killed his son.  Soon after, MS-13 began to threaten Z. over the phone, telling him they would harm or kill Z. and his other children because Z. talked to the police.  Strangers also came to Z.’s house to look for him.  Later, a man raped Z.’s stepdaughter.  Z. investigated the rape and reported it to the police.  After the rapist was captured, Z. filed a report with the prosecutor.  Z.’s stepdaughter identified the rapist in a lineup and he went to jail.  Z. then began receiving threatening calls referencing this incident.  Fearing the callers would act on their death threats, Z. and his family fled to the United States, entering October 18, 2016.  NIJC filed Z. and his daughters’ asylum applications with the Immigration Court on May 18, 2018.  Their pro bono attorneys will need to argue Z. merits an exception to the one-year filing deadline, and will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

32. M. is a woman from Honduras. Because venue in her case was recently changed to Chicago, her new hearing date has not yet been scheduled. M. speaks Spanish and lives in Indianapolis, IN. (18-0125361)

In the summer of 2016, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) started sexually harassing M.’s oldest daughter, G.  As a result, M. started driving G. to and from school to keep her safe. MS-13 gang members stared passing by M.’s house two or three times a day trying to see G. Eventually, gang members killed M.’s male cousin to punish M. for keeping G. away from them.  Fearing for her life and the lives of her daughters, M. fled to the United States.  M. is only eligible for withholding of removal because she was previously deported from the United States.  NIJC has already obtained substantial corroborating evidence for M.’s case.  All affidavits and supporting materials to M.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

33. G. is a man from Honduras.  His merits hearing is November 12, 2019.  G. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago. (17-0119406)

G. was born in Mexico and brought to Honduras by his father at a very young age. After finishing high school, G. started working as a driver’s assistant for a bus company that operated routes passing through the territories of two rival gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and the Mara 18 (M18). G. witnessed members of both gangs threatening and extorting the bus drivers. In late 2015, M18 members retaliated against the bus drivers for being late with their payments by opening fire into a crowd of passengers and drivers at a bus depot, murdering eight people, and G. witnessed this attack.  G. became a driver for the company soon afterwards, and both gangs started extorting and threatening him as well.  When G. was no longer able to make the payments, two M18 members came up to him on the street and threatened to kill him if he did not pay within four days.  G. reported this incident to the police, but no investigation was made. Fearing for his life, G. fled to the United States. Upon crossing the border, G. was kidnapped and held captive by a group of individuals who demanded a ransom payment from G.’s uncle. G. escaped the home where he was being held and fled the rest of the way to the United States. NIJC timely filed G.’s asylum application. His pro bono attorneys will need to prepare all affidavits and supporting materials prior to his merits hearing in 2019. Although G. only has official ID documents from Honduras, his pro bono attorneys should be prepared to argue that either he does not have Mexican citizenship or that he could not be safely returned there either.

34. T. is a man from Somalia.  His merits hearing is scheduled for December 9, 2019.  T. speaks Somali and lives in Chicago, IL. (16-0109672)

In 2013, Al-Shabaab began forcibly recruiting T. and threatened him when he resisted their efforts.  Members of Al-Shabaab would call his home and his mother asking about his whereabouts and threatening to kill T. if he did not join them.  On one occasion, they stopped T. check point and beat him badly as punishment, fracturing his skull and stabbing him deeply in his thigh. T. subsequently spent two months in the hospital.  T. filed a police report while in the hospital, but the police never followed up.  In July 2015, Al-Shabaab demanded T. close his business, saying T. was an infidel promoting Western culture for showing soccer matches and movies to the village people in his business.  Al-Shabaab burned his business to the ground and killed T.’s two uncles who were running it while T. was away.  T. fled to the United States in 2016. NIJC timely filed his application for asylum with the immigration court.  All affidavits and supporting materials to T.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing in 2019.

35. G. is a man from El Salvador.  His merits hearing is on April 22, 2020.  G. speaks Spanish and lives in a northern suburb of Chicago.  (17-0114097)

G. lived in a neighborhood controlled by the Mara 18 gang.  Because of this, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang, including G.’s cousin, frequently threatened him, and the police regularly beat him and accused him of being a gang member.  G. fled to the United States, but his smugglers kidnapped him and other migrants, holding them hostage for several weeks and mistreating them.  After the group crossed into the United States, immigration arrested them and asked G. to testify against one of the smugglers.  G. testified and the smuggler was convicted.  Because the smugglers have connections to G.’s hometown, G. fears they would harm him because he testified against them.  G. also fears that the Mara 18 will view him as a traitor for fleeing their territory and that the police and MS will continue to target him due to his prior connection to the Mara 18.  NIJC filed G.’s I-589 application for asylum with the immigration court.  His pro bono attorneys will need to argue G. merits an exception to the one-year filing deadline but G. understands he may only receive withholding of removal. All affidavits and supporting materials to G.’s case will be due prior to his merits hearing.

36. M. is a man from Honduras.  His merits hearing is scheduled for July 6, 2020.  M. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL.  (17-0113244)

In 2013, M. lived with his uncle and grandmother in Honduras.  That year, the 18th Street gang began to extort his uncle, a mechanic shop owner.  A week after M.’s uncle was unable to meet the gang’s demands, he was murdered and his body was left on the street near their home.  Fearing for their lives, M.’s grandmother fled to the United States and M. relocated to another district in Honduras, hours away.  Almost a year after his uncle’s murder, gang members violently attacked a second uncle of M. because of his relationship to the first uncle (his brother) who had been killed.  Then, in January 2016, the gang left a note at M.’s door, giving him an ultimatum: leave Honduras in three days or be killed.  He fled the country the next day, traveling first to Mexico, where he stayed until he could save enough money to travel to the United States.  NIJC timely filed his asylum application.  His affidavit and other supporting documents will be due prior to his merits hearing.

37. B. is a woman from Honduras. B. is seeking protection in the form of withholding of removal.  Her children, K., H., and M., are independently eligible for asylum. Their merits hearing is scheduled for July 22, 2020.  B. and her children speak Spanish and live in northern Indiana. (17-0118079), (17-0119075), (17-0120239) and (17-0120242)

B. entered a long-term relationship with R., the father of B.’s children, when she was about 18 years old.   R. physically and verbally abused B. throughout their relationship.  B. and R. moved to the United States around 2005 to earn money to support their growing family.  During that time, B. entrusted family members in Honduras with the care of her daughters, K. and H., but these family members physically and sexually abused the girls while B. and R. were living in the United States.  B. and R. returned to Honduras in 2009.  However, R. continued to abuse B. and gamble away the little money they had, so B. evicted R. from the family home and opened a small store to support her family.  A criminal organization loaned B. money for her business. When B. could not afford to pay the excessive interest rate on the loan, the criminal organization threatened to kill B. and her children.  B. sold her business to avoid further harm.  Meanwhile, B. entered a relationship with U., who raped, abused, threatened, and stalked B. and sexually assaulted B.’s oldest daughter, K.  Fearing for her life and the wellbeing of her children, B. fled to the United States with her children in May 2016. Although B. and her children were ordered removed after missing a court hearing, NIJC successfully reopened their cases last year and have submitted their asylum applications to the court.  B. only qualifies for withholding of removal since she was previously removed from the United States.  The family’s pro bono attorneys will need to argue that her children qualify to seek asylum.  Counsel will also need to supplement their applications with affidavits, a brief, and supporting documents prior to their merits hearing.

38. P. is a man from Iran. P. speaks Farsi and lives in Champaign, IL. His merits hearing is scheduled for August 10, 2020. (17-0119063)

P. is a Christian convert and was involved with the Green (opposition) Movement in Iran.  After the 2009 election, the Revolutionary Guard arrested, detained, and beat P. because he was attending a Green Movement march to protest the election results.  P. was later released on bail, but told that he could be arrested again at any point for his actions.  Some years later, P. connected with a Christian friend of his mother and began to covertly explore Christianity, which eventually led to his baptism in a secret ceremony.  In February 2016, P. learned that the Revolutionary Guard had arrested a Christian friend, confiscated P.’s laptop, which had information materials about Christianity on it, and raised his home.  Fearful for his life, P. fled Iran and arrived in the United States on September 24, 2016.  P. filed a timely, pro se I-589 asylum application with the immigration court.  His affidavit and other supporting documents will be due prior to his merits hearing.

39. S. and her husband K. are from El Salvador. They are both independently eligible for asylum. Their daughter, R., will be a derivative on both S. and K.’s applications. S. and R.’s merits hearing is on October 6, 2020. The family speaks Spanish and lives in Northcentral Indiana. (17-0114070), (17-0113291), (17-0113292)

S.’s husband, K., sold candy from a truck in El Salvador.  Gang members robbed K. multiple times, and he reported the robberies to local authorities. After being robbed at gunpoint around December 2014, K. reported the incident, even though the gang members told him they would kill him and his family if he did so.  Soon after K. spoke with the prosecutor’s office, gang members repeatedly threatened him, saying that they knew he had reported them and they would kill him and his family for doing so.  K. fled El Salvador in May 2015 and entered the United States without inspection or contact with immigration officials.  Afterward, S. received a phone call from the gang, telling her that if K. wanted S. and their daughter R. to remain alive, he had to pay the gang $1000 per month. Fearing for her life, S. stopped leaving the house and waited until she had enough money to flee El Salvador with her daughter.  S. and R. were apprehended by immigration upon entering the United States.  NIJC filed S.’s skeletal asylum application with the immigration court.  The family’s pro bono attorneys will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to their merits hearing.  Because K. is not in removal proceedings, NIJC filed his skeletal asylum application with USCIS.  The family’s pro bono attorneys will need to argue that K. merits an exception to the one-year filing deadline.  Affidavits and other supporting documents will be due shortly before his interview at the asylum office.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

40. M. is a woman from El Salvador.  Her two sons, S. and A., will be derivatives on her asylum application.  Their merits hearing is on December 8, 2020.  M. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, L.  (18-0127597), (18-0127600), (18-0127599)

In 2015, M. opened a small bakery, and soon after members of the Mara 18 (M18) gang began extorting her for a share of the profits.  When gang members doubled their extortion rate on small businesses in the community, M. was unable to pay and gang members began coming to her business to threaten her.  Soon after, men on motorcycles started following M.’s youngest son, S., on the microbus he took to school every day.  In late 2016, a man attempted to kidnap S. from his school by pretending to be S.’s uncle.  The same day, M. picked up her son and fled with him to the United States.  Her older son left El Salvador soon after.  M. and S. entered the United States on November 15, 2016.  Her previous immigration attorneys filed a timely asylum application in November of 2017.  All affidavits and supporting materials will be due prior to their merits hearing in 2020.

41. R. is a woman from Guatemala. Her son, T., will be a derivative on her application and is independently eligible for asylum. Their merits hearing is on June 7, 2021. R. and T. speak Kanjobal and T. also speaks Spanish.  They live in Champaign, IL.  A family member has been interpreting in Kanjobal for them, but their pro bono attorneys should expect to pay an interpreter for some case preparation.  NIJC can assist with securing an interpreter. (16-0111803), (16-0111805)

R.’s husband (T.’s father) hit T. as he was growing up and regularly raped R. When T. was older, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) started recruiting and threatening T. When he refused to join them, they kidnapped him and kept him for a month. They demanded R. pay a ransom for his release and when they let T. go, they told him the next time he would join or die. Soon after, they told T. he had one week to join the gang.  Around the same time, R.’s husband began seeing another woman and threatened to harm R. and T. if they didn’t leave the country. Fearing for their lives, R. and T. fled to the United States.  NIJC timely filed R. and T.’s I-589 applications for asylum with the immigration court.  Their pro bono attorneys will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to their merits hearing.

42. L. is a man from Mexico.  His merits hearing is August 8, 2021.  L. lives in Chicago, IL and speaks Spanish.  (17-0116219) 

L. first entered the United States in around 1995, returned to Mexico, and then came back to the United States in about 1999.  In about 2013, while L. was in the United States, the Zetas cartel
shop because she could not pay, they murdered her husband. Soon after, L.’s son Y. was deported from the United States and after he arrived back in Mexico, the Zetas began to extort and threaten him.  When Y. did not pay, they murdered him.  After Y.’s murder, the cartel also threatened L.’s sister and daughter, promising to kill them if they reported them to the police.  In late 2016, L. returned to Mexico to visit his dying mother and the Zetas quickly learned he was there.  They began asking and threatening his daughter about him; L. believes they wanted to extort him since he had been in the United States and also believed he might want revenge for their murder of Y.  In early 2017, shortly after his mother’s funeral, his sister saw one of the Zetas’ cars near their house and told L. to flee.  After he escaped, the Zetas asked his sister about his location.  L. immediately fled to the United States, entering on January 22, 2017.  Soon after L. fled Mexico, the Zetas found L.’s brother in the street, demanded to know L.’s location, and beat him when he did not know.  L.’s has several DUI convictions from the early 2000s, but none since then.  These convictions will not bar L.’s asylum eligibility.  NIJC timely filed L.’s I-589 application for asylum with the immigration court.  L.’s affidavit and other supporting documents will be due prior to his merits hearing in 2021.

43. B. and T. are a husband and wife from Mexico.  Their children, A. and E., are derivatives on their applications.  Their merits hearing is on October 26, 2021.  B. and T. speak Spanish and live a western suburb of Chicago.  (17-0115637), (17-0115363), (17-0115635), (17-0115638)

B. was friends with a municipal police officer, G., who became corrupt.  When B. and T.’s son A. was in junior high, G. found A. in school and threatened to harm him if he did not sell drugs for a cartel.  A. began staying home from school, but soon after, B. and T. received threatening calls insisting that A. sell drugs.  G. and several other officers showed up and B.’s business, demanding A.’s participation.  B. begged G. to negotiate with his commander and the officers left, taking several kilos of silver from B.’s silver shop as a bribe.  The threatening calls continued, referencing the family’s whereabouts, threatening A.’s life, and demanding money for his safety.  The officers again found B. at the family’s home and demanded a large sum of money.  One officer hit B. when he said he could not pay.  B. begged G. for time to sell his car and get them the money and G. agreed, but threatened to kill B. and his family if they did not get the payment.  B. sold his car and used the money to flee with his family.  Soon after they left, B.’s cousin was murdered and T.’s brother’s house was burglarized.  NIJC timely filed B. and T.’s I-589 applications for asylum.  Their pro bono attorneys will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to their merits hearing in 2021.

44. B. is a woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. B. lives in Chicago and speaks French. (17-0119090)

B.’s father was active with the UNC, a Congolese opposition party.  In 2012, B.’s extended family reported her father’s political activity to the Congolese government.  Shortly after, several masked men attempted to break into B.’s house. The men kidnapped two of B.’s family’s guards before hearing gunshots and fleeing.  On another occasion, B. was in the car with her father when they were shot at.  Later, men grabbed B. on her way home and tried to rape her, telling her she would die because of her father’s anti-government activity.  B.’s parents sent her to study in the United States, hoping the situation would improve after the election.  However, in 2014, B.’s father was arrested and detained for two weeks. In 2015, the president announced plans to extend his term and mass opposition protests began. The Congolese government came to B.’s family home, murdered a guard, and kidnapped her parents. B.’s uncle tried to locate them, but the Congolese government came after him and he fled the country. B.’s parents remain missing.   Realizing her life was in danger, B. filed a pro se asylum application in 2015.  B.’s affidavit and all supporting documents to her case will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office.  The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

45. R. is a woman from Mongolia.  She speaks Mongolian and lives in Chicago, IL.  (16-0109397)

R. worked as an accountant for a mining company and frequently visited mining sites.  During these visits, R. saw that mining companies, which had close ties to the Mongolian government, were not complying with environmental protection regulations.  A reporter interviewed R. about what she saw and the clip aired on television.  Soon after, R. began receiving death threats via phone.  R. went to the police, but the police accused her of lying, detained her overnight, and hit her.  Shortly after, a group of men attacked R., beat her, and discussed killing her before bystanders intervened and R. was hospitalized.  A few days later, a mob kidnapped and badly beat R.’s brother, telling him it was punishment for not keeping his sister quiet.  The situation made R.’s boyfriend’s family resent R., and they began threatening R., while R.’s boyfriend became physically and verbally abusive.  R.’s boyfriend ended the relationship under pressure from his family, but R. still feared harm from him, his family, and her attackers.  R. fled Mongolia and arrived in the United States on March 18, 2015.  R. filed a timely, pro se I-589 asylum application with USCIS in March 2016.  All affidavits and supporting documentation to R.’s case will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

46. P. and her daughter, L., are from Honduras.  They are waiting to be scheduled for their first Master Calendar hearing.  P. and L. are both independently eligible for asylum. P.’s daughter, L., is also a derivative on P.’s application. They speak Spanish and live in Northcentral Indiana. (17-0116572) (17-0116578)
 
The Mara 18 gang killed P.’s cousin in Honduras and because P. and her daughter were with P.’s cousin when he was killed, the gang immediately targeted P. and her daughter afterwards.  They ransacked P.’s home and left a note saying that she and her daughter would be next if they said anything about what they had seen.  P. and L. went into hiding and fled the country about one month after the murder.  NIJC timely filed P. and L.’s skeletal asylum applications in May 2017.  Their pro bono attorneys will need to prepare affidavits and other supporting documents prior to their interview merits hearing at the immigration court. 

47. P. is a woman from Togo.  P. speaks Ewe and lives in Chicago, IL.  (17-0118466)

P. worked at a market selling clothes.  One day, the Togolese government arrested and beat P. and other market sellers, accusing them of supporting an opposition party.  This experience motivated P. to join the UFC and later the ANC, both political opposition parties.  One day, a fire broke out at the market where P. sold clothes.  The Togolese government, blaming the ANC for the fire, arrested P. outside her home and detained her.  For several weeks, government soldiers beat, raped, and tortured P. while accusing her of having burned down the market.  Later, while P. was in a hospital recovering from her injuries, government soldiers brought a summons to her home.  P. escaped to Benin, but government continued to search for her, once beating her husband when P. was not at home.  When P. heard reports that the Togolese government was arresting opposition members in Benin, she fled to the United States.  NIJC timely filed P.’s asylum application with USCIS in September 2017.  All affidavits and supporting materials in her case will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for applications filed before 2018 is uncertain.  Please review the asylum office scheduling update at http://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

U Visa

48. M. is a 41-year-old woman from Guatemala who is eligible to file a U visa application.  M. speaks Spanish, and resides in a southwest suburb of Chicago.  M.’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before November 13, 2018. (18-0126123)

M. was the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-partner, J.  J. physically and emotionally abused M. for several years.  During one incident, J. became extremely violent towards M. and slapped and attempted to choke her.  Afraid for the safety of her daughter, M. called the police and reported the incident.  M. has suffered trauma and experienced extreme hardship due to the years of abuse.  M. has since separated from J. and obtained an emergency order of protection against him.  M. wishes to move forward with her life and remain in the United States with her U.S citizen daughter.

NIJC Announcements

Asylum Pro Bono Training

On October 25, 2018 from 9:00am - 12:00 pm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, located at 233 S. Wacker Drive, will host a training for pro bono attorneys interested in representing asylum seekers – including immigrant children and detained immigrants – before the asylum office and the immigration court.  New associates are particularly encouraged to attend.  Illinois CLE credit will be available, but space is limited!  Please contact Anna Sears at ansears@heartlandalliance.org to RSVP or with any questions.

The Immigration World is Changing!  Stay Informed by Checking NIJC’s Website

Immigration law and procedural is currently changing on a weekly basis.  Remain informed on the changes that may affect your pro bono matters by checking NIJC’s Immigration Procedural Updates page

New Trainings Available on NIJC’s Website

To view NIJC’s most recent asylum training and training on representing asylum seekers after Matter of A-B-, please go to http://immigrantjustice.org/training-webcasts.