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NIJC Case List: February 21, 2019

NIJC’s pro bono attorneys ensure access to justice and advocate for due process.  By helping an immigrant navigate the complicated immigration system, ensuring an asylum seeker is not deported to a country where she faces persecution and torture, or protecting a family from separation through deportation, you can change a life!

Currently, 78 cases in need of pro bono representation:

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

  1. Attend an 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 Lilia Escobar at (312) 660-1306 or lescobar@heartlandalliance.org.  
All other asylum cases, please contact Anna Sears at (312) 660-1307 or ansears@heartlandalliance.org

SIJS cases, please contact Hillary Richardson at (773) 672-6601 or hrichardson@heartlandalliance.org.
U Visa or VAWA cases, please contact Sylvia Wolak at (312) 660-1318 or sywolak@heartlandalliance.org.   
 

For general information regarding pro bono opportunities at NIJC, contact Ellen Miller, Pro Bono Manager at (312) 660-1415 or emiller@heartlandalliance.org.


List of Cases Available for Pro Bono Representation:

click here for a PDF version of this list

Asylum Cases

 

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.

1. L. is a young man from Sierra Leone. Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he will soon be in removal proceedings. L. speaks Krio, conversational English, and is currently detained in a shelter for immigrant children operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Chicago area. NIJC will assist L.’s attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (19-0131816) *Urgent*

L. began living with his paternal uncle after both of L.’s parents passed away when he was a child.  L.’s uncle forced him to work and also abused him physically.  L.’s uncle, a practitioner of traditional rituals and medicine, belonged to a male-only secret society in Sierra Leone, and he attempted to forcibly initiate L. into the society. L. fled to the United States fearing torture and death during the initiation, and retaliation from his uncle if he resisted.  Although L. was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when he entered the United States, the NTA has not yet been filed with the immigration court and L. is not yet in removal proceedings. USCIS must receive L.’s skeletal application for asylum before his 18th birthday in mid-April.  All affidavits and supporting materials to L.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

2. F. is a young man from Sierra Leone. Because he is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he will soon be in removal proceedings. F. speaks Krio, conversational English and is currently detained in a shelter for immigrant children operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in Chicago. NIJC will assist F.’s attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (19-0131820) *Urgent*

F.’s parents passed away in 2017 due to catastrophic mudslides in the city where they lived.  After this incident, F. began living with a family friend. F. began to receive threats from a male-only secret society that his father had been a part of while he was alive.  According to the practices of this society, the first-born male of every member must join upon turning eighteen years old. F. fled to the United States, fearing the brutal initiation practices and retaliation for resisting.  Although F. was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when he entered the United States, the NTA has not yet been filed with the immigration court and F. is not yet in removal proceedings.  USCIS must receive F.’s skeletal application for asylum before his 18th birthday in May. All affidavits and supporting materials to M.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

3. U. is a young man from Guatemala. U.'s next Master Calendar hearing is on May 15, 2019. U speaks Spanish and lives in a western suburb of Chicago, IL. (18-0127989) *Urgent*

In 2016, a gang began threatening and physically assaulting U. on his way to and from school every day.  The gang members demanded that U. join their gang, and on multiple occasions, they beat him badly for refusing. U. still has a scar on his leg as a result of one of the beatings.  The last time that the gang members confronted U., they told him that he had to join their gang or they would go to his house and kill all of his relatives.  Fearing for his life, U. fled to the United States. Because U. is already 18 and has not yet filed an application for asylum, he must seek asylum before the immigration court, even though he was previously designated an unaccompanied child.  The immigration court must receive U.'s skeletal application for asylum by May 3, 2019.  All affidavits and supporting materials to U.'s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

4. A. is a young male from El Salvador. Because he is an unaccompanied child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application. A.’s removal proceedings have been administratively closed and he does not currently have a future hearing date scheduled. A. speaks Spanish and lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL. (17-0117960)

A.’s step-father physically and verbally abused him throughout his childhood. He often chased after A. with a machete, threatening to kill him and on one occasion, A.’s step-father attacked him with a rock.  Even though the police were called, they failed to respond or take any action. A. also witnessed his step-father severely physically abuse his mother. In addition, after becoming friends with a gang member’s girlfriend, the gang members made multiple death threats against A. and physically attacked him.  A. tried to live in hiding and avoid any contact with gang members, but they found out where he lived threatened to “disappear him”.  Fearing for his life, A. fled to the United States in January 2017. NIJC timely filed his application for asylum with USCIS.  A.’s affidavits and supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office.  The timeline for his interview is uncertain.

5. V. is a young woman from Honduras. V.’s first Master Calendar Hearing is August 27, 2019. Because she is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over her asylum application even though she is in removal proceedings. V. speaks Spanish and lives in Milwaukee, WI. (17-0116133)

V.'s mother came to the United States in 2014 because gang members were extorting her business. V.'s mother reported the extortion and threats to the police, but gang members found out about the reports and threatened to kill the entire family.  V.'s mother left that same day to the United States, but because V. was in poor health at the time, she stayed behind with her grandmother. In 2016, a member of the same gang started pursuing V., but V. refused his advances.  The gang member told V. that if she did not become his girlfriend, he would kill her.  Fearing for her life, V. fled to the United States in March 2017 and joined her family in Wisconsin. NIJC timely filed V.’s asylum application with USCIS.  V.'s affidavit and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to interview at the asylum office.  The timeline for her interview is uncertain.

6. O. is young man from Somalia. Because he is an unaccompanied child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he is in removal proceedings. His next Master Calendar Hearing is January 7, 2020. O. speaks Somali and lives in a Chicago suburb. (17-0113189)

Members of Al-Shabaab murdered O.’s father when O. was very young after his father refused to comply with the group’s demands. Like most of Somalia, O.’s hometown was under violent Al-Shabaab control. As a teenager, O. became an avid runner and participated in a secret group of local runners. On one occasion, two Al-Shabaab militants stopped O. while he was running in his community and threatened to kill him for this ‘anti-Islamic’ activity. When O.’s mother learned of the threat, she sent O. to live in hiding with his stepfather in order to keep him safe from any future attacks. While in hiding, O.’s stepfather abused him physically, verbally, and emotionally for many years. O. eventually escaped to the United States in 2017, and NIJC filed timely filed his asylum application with USCIS. NIJC has already completed significant preparation in O.’s case. O. was previously scheduled for an interview in his case at the asylum office, but had to request the interview to be rescheduled. O.’s pro bono attorneys will need to finalize and supplement the current documentation in his case, and follow up with USCIS regarding the rescheduling of his interview. All affidavits and supporting documentation to O.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office.

7. N. is a young woman from Honduras. Her next Master Calendar hearing is on April 23, 2019. Because she is an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over her asylum application even though she is in removal proceedings. M. speaks Spanish and lives in a western suburb of Chicago, IL (18-0125509)

N’s father and stepmother physically abused her from a very young age. When N was 12, an uncle raped her, but her father did not believe her, so N. left home and moved in with another relative. Later N. moved in with a boyfriend who belonged to a gang and physically, sexually, and emotionally abused her. In November 2017, N. fled to the United States. N.’s prior attorneys timely filed her application for asylum with USCIS and NIJC has already completed significant preparation in her case. All affidavits and supporting documents to N.’s case will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for her case is uncertain.

8. 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 timely filed K. and L.’s skeletal applications for asylum with USCIS. K. and L.'s affidavits and supporting documents will be due one week prior to their interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline for their case is uncertain.

9. P. is a young man from Honduras who entered the United States as an unaccompanied immigrant child. P. speaks Spanish and lives in Milwaukee, WI. (18-0124617)

P.’s father regularly abused him throughout his childhood, up until his father’s death in 2015. After his father’s death, a local gang began to heavily recruit P. Although P. refused to join the gang, the gang forced P., under threat of death, to assist them with gang activity, such as transporting drugs, serving as a lookout, and robbing others. As the threats became more serious, P. decided to flee to the United States in March 2017, fearing that they would force him to participate in worse activities or kill him if he refused. Although P. was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not filed the NTA with the immigration court and P. is not yet in removal proceedings. Unless and until DHS files the NTA with the court, USCIS maintains jurisdiction over his asylum application. Although P. missed his one-year filing deadline, he qualifies for an exception to the deadline, and NIJC will assist his pro bono attorneys in making that argument. His affidavit and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office. The timeline for his interview is uncertain.

10. 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)

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. NIJC will timely file his application for asylum with USCIS. His affidavit and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office. The timeline for his interview is uncertain.

11. F. is a young man from Belize. His next Master Calendar hearing is on June 11, 2019. F. speaks English and Spanish and lives in a northern suburb of Chicago. (18-0128211)

In early October 2017, F. witnessed a shooting between two rival gangs in his hometown. One gang believed he was a look-out for the rival gang and the rival gang believed that F. had reported the shooter’s identity to the police. Both gangs subsequently targeted F. The situation escalated to the point that police officers from the capital city of Belize warned F. to leave the country as soon as possible because they could not protect him. F.’s family and friends have been targeted by these two gangs since he left Belize. F. was also the victim of police torture by police officers in his hometown who claimed he was involved with criminal activity. Because F. did not file for asylum until he was 18 or older, he must seek asylum before the immigration court, even though she was previously designated an unaccompanied child. NIJC timely filed F.’s skeletal application for asylum with the immigration court. F.’s affidavit and other supporting documents will be due prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

12. A. is a young man from Guatemala. A.'s next Master Calendar hearing is on October 8, 2019. A. speaks Spanish and lives in a northwest suburb of Chicago. (17-0121636)

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. NIJC filed A.’s asylum application in November 2018, after his one-year filing deadline for asylum, but NIJC will assist A.’s attorneys in arguing that he meets an exception to the deadline. Because A. did not file for asylum until he was 18 or older, he must seek asylum before the immigration court, even though he was previously designated an unaccompanied child. All affidavits and supporting materials to A.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

13. A. and B. are brother and sister from El Salvador. Their merits hearing is on March 5, 2020. 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 USCIS, but the asylum office declined to grant their applications, and referred their cases to the immigration court. NIJC has already prepared substantial documentation in support of A. and B.’s claim. Their attorneys will need to supplement and further develop that documentation for submission to the court 15 days prior to their merits hearing in 2020.

14. L. is a young man from Honduras. His merits hearing is on May 15, 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.

15. 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 future 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 with USCIS 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 his case is uncertain.

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.

16. J. is a bisexual woman from Guatemala in withholding-only proceedings and currently detained at McHenry County Jail. Her next Master Calendar Hearing is scheduled for February 27, 2019. (19-0132288) ** URGENT **

J. was sexually assaulted three times between ages 8 and 12 and constantly worried about physical and sexual abuse. J. had her first romantic relationships with a girl when she was 14. When J. was 15, members of the Mara 18 gang began suspecting that she was a lesbian. They approached her, asking her to become involved in the gang and help them move guns and drugs. When J. refused, they threatened to tell her girlfriend’s family of the relationship and began regularly taunting and threatening J. and her girlfriend. J. ended her relationship shortly after and dated a few more girls, but eventually decided to stop dating out of fear. When J. was 16, the same Mara 18 members attacked her and expressly stated that they were targeting her because of her sexual orientation. J. went to the police, but they laughed at her, refused to file a police report, and told her that she deserved to die due to her sexual orientation. Afterwards, J.’s mother helped flee the country. J. entered the United States in 2015 at age 17 and was released to an aunt. In August 2017, J. missed a court date and was given a removal order. In January 2018, she was picked up by immigration and deported. When gang members learned J. was back in Guatemala, they attacked her again and beat her until she was nearly unconscious. After this incident, J. came out to her family. Her family disowned her, but did help pay for her to return to the United States. After reentering the United States, immigration detained J. her previous removal order was reinstated. As a result, J. is ineligible for asylum, but remains eligible for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. NIJC will file an I-589 application for J. at her next master calendar hearing. NIJC expects her final hearing to take place in mid-April.


17. E. is a HIV positive, gay man from Venezuela. He speaks Spanish. He lives in a western suburb of Chicago, IL. (18-0128107) ** URGENT **

E. has known he was gay “since forever.” As a child, he was tormented by his father, who told him that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. E. was sexually abused as a child by a neighbor. E. contracted HIV after being raped. After testing positive, he did not have access to HIV medication and was told that he did not qualify. E. was outed as HIV positive after his employers performed a blood test and was subsequently fired. E. also expressed an anti-government political opinion, including refusing to participate in expressions of government support while working in a government-owned hotel. E. entered on a tourist visa on May 4, 2018. His pro bono attorneys must file his asylum application with the Asylum Office by May 3, 2019. His affidavit and supporting documents will be due to the Asylum Office prior to his interview, which will likely occur within 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

18. J. is a transgender woman from Malaysia. She speaks English. She lives in Northcentral Indiana, but is willing to travel to Chicago. (18-0128643) ** URGENT **

When J. was in primary school, she felt different and her gestures were that of a girl instead of a boy. She experienced a lot of bullying and teasing from her peers during elementary school because of this. Her mother also noticed that she was acting more like a girl, and tried to correct her and teach her to act like a boy. J. tried to conform to being a boy but because of the emotional and psychological effects it was having on her, she finally started looking into transitioning from male to female as a young adult. J. was shocked to find that in Malaysia it is illegal to change one’s name or gender, to cross-dress, or to take hormone therapy. In order to be able to live freely as a transgender woman without the fear of being harmed, J. fled to the United States and entered on a tourist visa on May 18, 2018. She fears she will be physically harmed if she is made to go back to Malaysia. Her pro bono attorneys must file her asylum application with the Asylum Office by May 17, 2019. Her affidavit and supporting documents will be due to the Asylum Office prior to her interview, which will likely occur within 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

19. F. is a bisexual woman from Egypt. She speaks English and lives in Chicago, IL. (18-0129146) ** URGENT **

Born in Egypt, F. moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the age of three. Growing up, F.’s parents were emotionally manipulative: they forced her to wear a hijab, her mother spied on her activities and obliged her to participate in religious ceremonies. She was also manipulated into coming out to her parents as bisexual when she was 19. F.’s family currently lives in Egypt, and F. has been in the United States for the past two years working on a master’s degree. F. fears that if she is forced to return to Egypt, she will not be able to be herself and would be forced to marry a man. USCIS must receive her asylum application by or soon after June 12, 2019. Although she will be filing this application more than one year after her entry into the United States, F. will likely qualify for an exception to this rule and NIJC will assist her pro bono attorneys in making that argument. Her affidavit and supporting documents 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.

20. G. is an HIV positive, transgender woman from Malawi. She speaks Chichewa and intermediate English and lives in Chicago. (18-0129518) 

G. has felt like a woman for as long as she can remember. Although she participated in multiple LGBT groups in her country, she did not feel safe presenting as a woman in Malawi. She was repeatedly attacked, harassed, and ostracized because she was perceived as a gay man. After being fired from her job due to her sexual orientation and gender identity, G. worked as a sex worker for about five years, during which time she contracted HIV. She was arrested in Malawi twice for allegedly having sex with men. Both times, she and the other man were beaten and then taken to the hospital where doctors performed invasive tests without G.’s consent. G. later took in her nine-year-old nephew after the death of his parents, and a false story was circulated in the media that G. was forcibly prostituting him. In response to the story, members of G.’s community broken into her home while she was sleeping and threatened her with broken bottles. Fearing for her life, G. fled to the United States in 2018. USCIS must receive G.’s skeletal application for asylum by September 17, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to G.’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.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. M. is a woman from Ethiopia. M. speaks Amharic and lives in Chicago. (18-0131147) *Urgent*

When she was very young, M.’s family obliged her to undergo female genital mutilation. An acquaintance later raped M. and she became pregnant. Because of the pregnancy, M.’s family forced her to marry her rapist. Her spouse beat her so violently that M. suffered a miscarriage. M. later escaped from her husband and found work as a housemaid for a large family. Her employer’s nephew raped her multiple times. When M. attempted to report the rapes to her employer, the employer threatened to have her jailed. M. escaped and returned to her hometown, where her family forced her into a second marriage. M.’s second husband also raped and abused her for years. In 2016, M. attended a government meeting with her husband and father. M., her husband, and her father all spoke out against the government. Later that day, government officials came to M.’s house and killed her father because of his comments at the meeting. When M. protested, the officials beat her as well. Government officials later returned to M.’s house to arrest M. and her husband. Officials beat and tortured M. while she was in jail. Eventually, M.’s mother bribed an official for M.’s release. M. escaped to Dubai, where she lived for more than a year before coming to the United States. USCIS must receive M.’s skeletal application for asylum by July 2, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials for her case will be due one week before her interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

25. Q. is a woman from Honduras. Her son, Y., will be a derivative on her application. Q. and Y.’s next Master Calendar hearing is February 27, 2019. Q. speaks Spanish and lives in Northcentral Indiana. (18-0129057) (18-0129269)

Q.’s father physically abused Q. and her mother during Q.’s childhood. When Q. was 14 years old, she met a partner, D., who was eight years older than she was. She moved in with his family and soon after, D. began abusing Q. physically, sexually, psychologically and verbally. D.’s family also abused Q. and treated her like a servant. Q. became pregnant at 16. One of D.’s family members also repeatedly sexually molested Q., but she did not report it for fear D. would retaliate against her. After Q.’s son, Y., was born, D.’s family threatened to take Y. from her if she ever tried to leave. Before fleeing to the United States, Q. tried to escape with Y. but D.’s family threatened to take Y. and told Q. she would eventually have to return because she is D.’s woman and her place is in their house. Fearing she would never be safe from D. or his family if she stayed, Q. fled Honduras and entered the United States in April 2018. NIJC timely filed Q.’s skeletal application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to her case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

26. F. is a woman from Guatemala. Her daughter, C., will be a derivative on her application. Her next Master Calendar Hearing is April 9, 2019. F. and her daughter speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (18-0130493) (18-0130494)

F. married her husband, K., when she was around 17 years old. From then on, K. and his family treated F. like a slave and rarely allowed her to leave the house. K. frequently physically abused F., and his family forced her to cook, clean, and work in the fields. After several years, F. separated from her husband and moved out with her children. Still, K. continued to stalk and threaten F. K. would come to F.’s house frequently to rape her, abuse their children, and try to kidnap the children. F. reported her husband’s actions to the police and a local court, but received no protection. Fearing for her life, F. fled to the United States with her oldest daughter, C. The immigration court must receive F.’s skeletal application for asylum by October 14, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to F.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

27. E. is a woman from Honduras. Her next Master Calendar hearing is May 8, 2019. She speaks Spanish and lives in a western suburb of Chicago. (18-0126952)

E. met her ex-partner, Y., when she was 12 years old and working at a textile factory. Y. emotionally and physically abused E. throughout their relationship, and also cheated on her with many other women in their community. E. told Y. that she no longer wanted to be with him when she discovered that he had started an affair with the teacher of their youngest son. She moved out of their shared home and moved her son to a different classroom at his school. When Y. found out, he became furious and broke into E.’s new home and tore it apart. He started coming to the house early in the mornings and trying to forcibly drag their son to school to attend the class of his former teacher. When E. tried to stop him, he would hit her with his belt or pieces of wood. During one incident, E. called the police and tried to report Y. But after talking with Y. for a few minutes, the police left without taking any action. Y. continued threatening E. and tried to kill her. Fearing for her life, E. fled to the United States in 2017. NIJC timely filed E.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to her case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

28. L. is a woman from El Salvador. Her son, F., will be a derivative on her asylum application. Her next Master Calendar hearing is June 6, 2019. L. speaks Spanish and lives in Northcentral Indiana. (18-0124734) (18-0125273)

When she was 14 years old, L. was forced into an unwanted sexual relationship with her ex-partner, R., a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang. R. threatened to kill L. if she refused him. After L. moved in with R. under duress, he often hit her, choked her, put a machete to her throat, and threatened to kill her. When L. was 17, she learned she was pregnant with R.’s child and R. beat her in the abdomen to force a miscarriage. L. gave birth to the baby and when he was a small child, R. compelled him to run errands for MS-13. L. attempted to leave R. by moving out, but R. continued to pursue her and beat and threatened to kill the man with whom L. began a relationship after moving out of R.’s home. Fearing for her life, L. fled to the United States shortly after. NIJC timely filed L.’s asylum application with the asylum office and the immigration court. NIJC has secured a forensic medical exam for L. and has drafted her affidavit. Her pro bono attorneys will need to finalize and supplement her affidavit and supporting materials prior to her merits hearing, which has not been scheduled.

29. P. is a woman from Honduras. Her children A., J., and E. will be included as derivatives on her application. P.’s next Master Calendar hearing is July 11, 2019. P. and her children speak Spanish and live in Southcentral Wisconsin. (18-0128597) (18-0128605)

P. grew up in a poor family in rural Honduras, where she was unable to attend school because she had to work to help support her family. When she was around 14 years old, she entered a relationship with a much older man, T., in order to be able to leave her home and alleviate the burden on her mother. Soon after entering the relationship, P. learned that T. was an alcoholic and a drug addict. After the birth of their children, P. told T. that his behavior was not good for the babies. T. became very angry and started to beat P. He often verbally abused her and choked her with his belt, calling her stupid and threatening to kill her if she ever tried to leave him. While she was pregnant with their third child, T. hit her multiple times on the stomach, and P. ran away in order to protect the baby. T. followed P. and the children to their new home and tried to break in on multiple occasions by breaking down the door. One of these times, P. reported him to the police for property damage because she believed that would get the police to respond even if the abuse would not. The police arrested T, but quickly released him. After T. continued to threaten her, and P. saw that the police were unwilling to protect her, she fled to the United States. NIJC timely filed P.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled

30. S. is a woman from Honduras. Her daughter, T., will be a derivative on her application for asylum. S. and her daughter speak Spanish and live in Northcentral Indiana. (18-0129498), (18-0129539)

S. met her abuser, who is more than 20 years her senior, when she was around 14 years old. He approached her after observing her on the school playground and initiated a sexual relationship with her. Soon thereafter, S. became pregnant. Ashamed and afraid of judgement by her family, she left her parents’ home and went to live with her abuser. He controlled every aspect of S.’s life: what she wore, where she could go, and when and with whom she could speak. S. suffered sexual and emotional abuse for over five years. Finally, S. was able to escape to the United States with her daughter. Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued S. a Notice to Appear (NTA), that NTA has not yet been filed with the immigration court. Unless and until her NTA is filed with the immigration court, her application for asylum will be filed with USCIS. USCIS must receive S.’s skeletal application for asylum by October 4, 2019. If USCIS retains jurisdiction over her case, all affidavits and supporting materials for S.’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. If her case is transferred to the Immigration Court, her asylum merits hearing will be scheduled following an initial master calendar hearing.

31. 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.

32. 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 to flee to the United States as well. 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.

33. 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 frequently sexually abused her. S.’s husband 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 in 2021.

34. 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.

35. O. is a woman from Guatemala. Her son will be a derivative on her asylum application. Her merits hearing is April 7, 2022. 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 more than one year after she entered the United States. NIJC will assist her pro bono attorneys in arguing that O. merits an exception to the one-year filing deadline. All affidavits and supporting materials to O.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing in 2022.

36. R. is a woman from Guatemala. Her two children, G. and T., will be derivatives on her asylum application. Her merits hearing is July 21, 2022. 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 in 2022.

37. U. is a woman from Mongolia. She speaks Mongolian and lives in Chicago, IL. NIJC will assist her attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (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.

38. G. is a man from Honduras. His partner, M., and their son, C., are also independently eligible for asylum. G.’s merits hearing is November 12, 2019. M.’s first Master Calendar Hearing is on March 5, 2019. G. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago. (17-0119406) *Urgent*

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 and M. 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. NIJC timely filed G.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. 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. The immigration court must receive M.’s application for asylum by M. remained in Honduras with C., but soon after G.’s departure she started receiving death threats and extortion demands from the same gang members, saying that they had ‘transferred’ G.’s debt to her. Eventually, M. and C. fled to the United States as well to join G. The immigration court must receive M.’s skeletal application for asylum by August 3, 2019. Her pro bono attorneys should plan to consolidate her case with that of her partner G, at which point all affidavits and supporting materials for their cases will be due 15 days prior to the merits hearing in November.

39. E. is a man from Pakistan. He speaks English and lives in a western suburb of Chicago. (18-0131294) *Urgent* 

E. and his family are from the Kashmir territory, and E. has spent much of his adult life advocating for Kashmiri independence. Although E. obtained multiple university degrees in computer science, the majority of his employment has been with non-profit organizations working to assist needy families in Kashmir. In 2014, he quit his job to become a volunteer community organizer for the United Kashmir People’s National Party. In March 2018, E. helped organize a demonstration in the Kashmiri capital. Police came and violently attacked the demonstrators. E. attempted to calm the fighting, encouraging his fellow demonstrators to refrain from aggression with the police. Despite the fact that E. did not engage in any violent activities at the demonstration, police later accused him of breaking the glass of a local store and burning Pakistani flags during the rally. A few months later, E. received a computer science fellowship in the United States and left Pakistan. While in the United States, he discovered that an arrest warrant had been issued for him related to the police accusations after the demonstration. Based on the experiences of similar activists, E. fears that if he returns to Pakistan he will be arrested, denied the right to plead his case in the judicial system, and possibly killed. E.’s wife and children are still in Pakistan and continue to receive threats from the police. USCIS must receive E.’s skeletal application for asylum by May 11, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to E.’s case will be due one week prior to his interview at the asylum office, which will likely occur 4-6 weeks after the date of filing.

40. N. is a woman from Honduras. N.’s son J. will be a derivative on her application for asylum. N.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is February 25, 2019. N. and her son speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL. (19-0131665) (19-0131666)

N. grew up in extreme poverty. Her father died when she was a child, and she had to help raise her other siblings. She stopped attending school at a young age so that she could work to help support her family. When she met Z., a fisherman living in a town off the coast of Honduras, she believed she could start a new life. However, Z. soon became a drug user, an alcoholic, and eventually began to abuse N. verbally and physically. On at least one occasion, he attempted to rape N.. Z. beat N.’s children when they tried to defend N. from the abuse. N. reported the abuse to the local police, pleading with them to arrest Z. The police detained Z. for one day, and when he was released Z. told N. that he would kill her if she ever tried to report him again. N. waited until Z. was out of the house, and fled to the United States with J. The immigration court must receive N.’s skeletal application for asylum by September 2, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to N.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

41. R. is a woman from Mexico. R.’s daughter M. will be a derivative on her application for asylum. R.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is March 6, 2019. R. and her daughter speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (18-0130770) (18-0131022)

For many years, R.’s partner, S., supported their family by operating a small restaurant, which he named after R. Eventually, a local cartel quickly began to extort S. for a share of his profits. The cartel threatened S.’s life when he was unable to pay, and in 2015, cartel members came into the restaurant and shot S. in the chest, killing him on the spot. R.’s mother-in-law went to the police to report what happened to her son, but the Mexican police did not investigate the murder. After her partner’s death, R. earned a business degree and eventually reopened the restaurant. Almost immediately after reopening the business, the cartel resumed its threats and extortion demands against R. In early 2018, cartel members entered the restaurant and held a gun to R.’s head, saying that they would kill her if she did not pay. Terrified she would encounter the same fate as her partner, R. decided to flee with her daughter M. to the United States. R. filed a timely, pro se application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting documents to R.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

42. U. is a woman from Guatemala. Her son, M., is independently eligible for asylum and will also be a derivative on U.’s application. Their first Master Calendar hearing is March 21, 2019. U. and M. speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (19-0131810) (19-0131812)

When M. entered secondary school, members of the Mara 18 (M18) gang started trying to forcibly recruit M. When M. refused to join, gang members began to send him threatening messages. One day as M. was leaving school, gang members attacked M, beating him badly and stabbing him with a knife. M. and his mother, U., reported the attack at a local police station. U. demanded that the police send officers to the school to protect M. and the other students. When M. returned to school the following week, a group of M18 gang members was there waiting for him. Again, U. and M. went to the police station to ask for help. An officer asked U. to pay a bribe to protect her son. U. refused, and M. stopped attending school. Soon after U. and M. reported the threats to the police, M18 gang members began stalking U. and M. and threatened to kill them both. Fearing for their lives, D. and Y. fled to the United States. The immigration court must receive Y.’s and D.’s skeletal applications for asylum by October 16, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to Y.’s and D.’s case will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

43. G. is a woman from Mexico. Her daughters, J. and Y., will be derivatives on her application. Their first Master Calendar Hearing is March 28, 2019. G. and her daughters speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL. (18-0130988) (18-0130989) (18-0130990)

After separating from her husband, G. began to work odd jobs to support her family. While she was working, members of a Mexican drug cartel robbed and raped G. Several years later, members of the same criminal organization again robbed her while she was working and threatened to kill G. and her family. G. quit her job and decided to start a business in a neighboring state. Soon after, members of the same criminal organization robbed G.’s employees and burned G.’s automobile. They threatened to kill G. and kidnap her daughters. G. reported the threats to the police but did not receive any assistance. Then, fearing for their lives, G., J., and Y. fled to the United States. The immigration court must receive G.’s skeletal application for asylum by November 13, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to G.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

44. A. is a man from Honduras. His daughter, T., will be a derivative on his application for asylum. A. had been scheduled for a Master Calendar hearing, but it was cancelled due weather and a new date has not yet been set. He speaks Spanish and lives in a northwest suburb of Chicago. (18-0131295)

Several years ago, members of the Mara 18 (M-18) murdered A.’s brother. A witness to the murder gave A. information regarding the identities of the perpetrators and A. passed this information along to the local police. Later, members of the M-18 killed the witness and started following A. A. received a death threat on his phone from one of the gang members he believes was involved in his brother’s murder. Shortly after, several gang members tried to ambush A. on his way home from work and shot at him multiple times, wounding A.’s arm. Fearing for his life, A. fled to the United States with his daughter. Members of the M-18 continue to look for A. in Honduras. The immigration court must receive A.’s skeletal application for asylum, with T. included as a derivative, by April 8, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials for A.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

45. D. is a woman from Togo. D. had been scheduled for a Master Calendar hearing, but it was cancelled due weather and a new date has not yet been set. Although she is proficient in French, she will require a Mina interpreter to prepare her affidavit. NIJC will assist her attorneys in identifying an interpreter. She lives in Chicago, IL. (18-0123400)

D. was a member of an opposition political party in Togo and frequently participated in protests against the ruling government. In 2013, government officials set fire to the marketplace where D. worked, and blamed it on members of her political party. Shortly after, officials arrested and interrogated D., pressuring her to say that members of her party had planned the fire. D. refused, so officials detained and tortured her, along with a group of other female members of her party. At the time of her arrest, D. was pregnant and the frequent beatings caused her to miscarry the baby. Afterwards, the guards sent her to a nearby hospital, from which D. was able to escape. She continued organizing with her party in secret, but eventually she was discovered by the police and arrested. D. was tortured again, including severe strangulation. Eventually she was released to the hospital and soon after, she fled to the United States. D. filed a timely, pro se application for asylum with USCIS, but they referred her case to the immigration court. D.’s pro bono attorneys will need to supplement her original, pro se filing with an affidavit and other supporting documents, all of which will be due 15 days prior to D.’s merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

46. R. is a woman from Mexico. R.’s two children, M. and O., will be derivatives on her application for asylum. R. had been scheduled for a Master Calendar hearing, but it was cancelled due to the recent shutdown and a new date has not yet been set. R. lives in northern Illinois and speaks Spanish. (18-0128852) (18-0131087) (18-0131088)

R.’s problems began when her husband’s nephews joined a local drug cartel. These nephews began to extort R. and her husband, demanding that they pay ‘rent’ every week for their small food stand. In early 2018, R. and her husband could no longer afford to pay the cartel and started receiving verbal threats. R. believes that her husband’s nephews reported on her family’s inability to pay to the rest of the cartel. R. knows that these same nephews participated in the fake kidnapping of another family member as a punishment for failure to pay extortion demands. Because R. and her family lived on a plot of land directly next to the home of the nephews, she believed that she could not protect her daughters from the cartel if they decided to through on their threats. Wanting to protect her children, R. fled to the United States with M. and O. The immigration court must receive their skeletal applications for asylum by May 18, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to R.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

47. O. is a man from Honduras. His wife, T., and their children Y., H., J., and A., will be derivatives on O.’s application. His next Master Calendar hearing is May 20, 2019. O. and his family speak Spanish and live in a northwestern suburb of Chicago. (18-0128846) (18-0130384) (18-0130383) (18-0130382) (18-0130381)

O. fled from his small town in Honduras after local government officials threatened him because his family supported an opposition party. O. moved to San Pedro Sula, where he met his wife, T. In 2015, T.’s son from a previous relationship, J., moved in with them. When J. started the eighth grade, M-18 gang members began to harass him and forcibly recruit him. Several gang members came to O.’s house to ask O. to hide a stolen car in his garage. O. refused. Several days later, J. refused a gang member’s request to carry drugs for the gang. Hours later, a group of M-18 members came to O.’s house to punish him and his family for opposing the gang. The gang members violently beat O. and threatened to kill him and his family if they did not leave their house within 24 hours. Fearing for their lives, O. and his family fled to the United States. O. entered first with Y. and H.; and T. entered later with J. and A. The immigration court must receive O.’s skeletal application for asylum by June 9, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to O.’s case will be due 15 days before his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. T.’s Notice to Appear (NTA) has not yet been filed with the immigration court. Unless and until her NTA is filed, USCIS will retain initial jurisdiction over her application for asylum. USCIS must receive T.’s skeletal application for asylum by July 7, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to T.’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. If T.’s NTA is filed, her pro bono attorneys should request that her case be consolidated with O.’s prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

48. 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 merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. 

49. P. and her daughter, L., are from Honduras. Their first Master Calendar hearing is on June 26, 2019. 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 with the immigration court. Their affidavits are being prepared at NIJC, but their pro bono attorneys will need to finalize affidavits and other supporting documents prior to their merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

50. F. is a woman from Honduras. Her daughter, B., will be a derivative on her application. Her next Master Calendar Hearing is on June 26, 2019. F. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago. (18-0128501)

After leaving the abusive father of her daughter B., F. moved back to her mother’s house in the rural village where she grew up. Despite gang violence in their community, F. and her family were generally protected because of her mother’s respected status as a pastor. In late 2017, F.’s brother, C., witnessed members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) massacre a group of bystanders outside a local bar. C. fled the scene unharmed, but the gang members knew that he had witnessed the crime and started trying to track him down and intimidate him so that he would not report to the police. One day when F. was home alone at her mother’s house, gang members broke in looking for C. When they saw that her brother was not there, the gang members threatened F. and demanded to know where he was. F. refused to tell them, and the gang members beat her badly. They said that if they could not find her brother, that they would kill F. and her daughter instead. Fearing for her life, F. fled to the United States with her daughter without telling anyone else in her family. NIJC timely filed F.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to F.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

51. L. is a woman from El Salvador. Her sons, F. and N., will be derivatives on L.’s application for asylum. L. had been scheduled for a Master Calendar hearing, but it was cancelled due to the recent shutdown and a new date has not yet been set. L. and her sons speak Spanish and live in central Indiana. (18-0130104) (18-0130370) (18-0130372)

L. and her family lived across the street from a house that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) used for meetings. L. ran a small store in her home, selling pupusas, tortillas, and other goods. Gang members demanded food from D.’s store. Not wanting to support the gang, D. shut down her store. Later, gang members demanded that L.’s husband help them transport drugs and weapons in his car and threatened to kill him and his family if he ever told anyone about their activity. L.’s husband refused the gang’s demands, and they threatened to kill their son F. if he did not comply. Soon after, several gang members in an automobile followed F. on his motorcycle and rear-ended him, leaving him with severe wounds. The MS-13 continued to threaten L.’s family, eventually saying that they would kill L., her husband, and her sons if they did not vacate their home. Fearing for their lives, L. and her sons fled to the United States. The immigration court must receive L.’s skeletal application for asylum by June 24, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to L.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

52. C. and M. are sisters from Nicaragua. C.’s two sons, S. and A., will be derivatives on her application for asylum. C. had been scheduled for a Master Calendar hearing, but it was cancelled due to the recent shutdown and a new date has not yet been set. C., S., A., and M. speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (18-0129283) (18-0129602) (18-0130467) (18-0130465)

C. strongly disagreed with the Nicaraguan government’s violent towards peaceful protestors. On Nicaraguan Mother’s Day in 2018, C. helped to organize a march in solidarity with mothers who had lost their children to the government’s paramilitary violence. C.’s son S. was subsequently reported to the police for having failed to attend the official government march that took place on the same day. A few months later, C. took her children to live at her sister M.’s home because she was afraid the police would come search for her and her son. Police continued searching for C. and S., and on one occasion, they badly beat a local boy because they believed he was helping to hide them. C. and M. relocated to another part of Nicaragua with C.’s sons, where they continued participating in peaceful protests against the government. Police identified and photographed C. and M. in separate protests, and later went searching for them at the homes of their relatives. C. and M. feared being discovered and detained in a prison for political dissidents infamous for utilizing rape as an interrogation method against female detainees. C., S., A., and M. fled to the United States in late 2018. The immigration court must receive C.’s skeletal application for asylum by August 31, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to C.’s case will be due 15 days before her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. M.’s Notice to Appear (NTA) has not yet been filed with the immigration court. Unless and until her NTA is filed, USCIS will retain initial jurisdiction over her application for asylum. USCIS must receive M.’s skeletal application for asylum by August 31, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to M.’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. If M.’s NTA is filed, her pro bono attorneys should request to consolidate her case with C.’s prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

53. P. is a man from Honduras. P.’s daughter, E., is independently eligible for asylum and will also be a derivative on P.’s application. P.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is October 17, 2019. P. and E. speak Spanish and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. (18-0129641) (18-0130209)

Members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang started pursuing P.’s young daughter, E., when she was around 11 years old. The gang members would follow E. home from school and threaten her and try to force her to be a gang girlfriend. When E. refused, the gang members told her that they were going to kill her family if she did not comply. When P. learned that gang members had been harassing and threatening his daughter, he confronted them and demanded that they leave E. alone. The gang members then told P. that they if he tried to stop them, that he would be killed as well. Fearing for his life and wanting to protect his daughter from being taken by the gang, P. fled to the United States with E. in 2018. After crossing the border, P. and E. were separated and detained in different locations for nearly three months before being reunited. The immigration court must receive P.’s skeletal application for asylum by May 9, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to P.’s case will be due 15 days before his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. E.’s Notice to Appear (NTA) has not yet been filed with the immigration court. Unless and until her NTA is filed, USCIS will retain initial jurisdiction over her application for asylum. USCIS must receive E.’s skeletal application for asylum by May 9, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to E.’s case will be due one week before her interview at the asylum office. The timeline for that interview is uncertain. If E.’s NTA is filed will the immigration court, her pro bono attorneys should request to consolidate her case with her father’s prior to his merits hearing

54. S. is a woman from Guatemala. Her two sons, L. and M., will be derivatives on her asylum application but are also independently eligible for asylum. S. speaks Spanish and lives in Chicago, IL. (18-0128717) (18-0128793) (18-0128798)

S. left school when she was a young girl to support her family when her father became too ill to work. She worked for years cleaning houses and washing clothes until she met her future partner at age 14. S. became pregnant at 15 and went on to have four children with him. In 2006, her partner died in a car crash and her newborn child died a few months later. Soon after, S.’s family members kicked her and her children out of their home and stopped supporting her. In early 2018, S. started receiving threatening phone calls and being extorted by men who said they would kill her sons if she did not comply with their demands. In July 2018, two men approached L. and said threatened to kill him and his family if S. did not pay immediately. Unable to pay and fearing for her life and the lives of her sons, S. fled to the United States with her children. Although S. and her sons were issued Notices to Appear (NTAs) when they entered the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet filed their NTAs with the immigration court. Unless and until their NTAs are filed with the immigration court, USCIS must receive S.’s skeletal application for asylum, with her sons listed as derivatives, by August 14, 2019. Her affidavit and other supporting documents will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office. The interview timeline on this case is uncertain.

55. Z. is a man from Honduras. His two daughters will be derivatives on his asylum application and independently qualify for asylum. Their merits hearing is April 5, 2021. 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 in 2016. NIJC filed Z.’s application for asylum with the immigration court more than one year after he entered the United States. 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.

56. G. is a man from El Salvador. His merits hearing is April 22, 2020. G. speaks Spanish and lives in a northern suburb of Chicago, IL. (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.

57. M. is a man from Honduras. His merits hearing is 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.

58. 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 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. 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.

59. M. is a woman from Honduras. Her merits hearing is on August 13, 2020. M. speaks Spanish and lives in Indianapolis, IN. (18-0125361)

M. came to the United States in the late 1990s and had three U.S. citizen daughters with her husband, who had lawful status in the United States. M. was later deported to Honduras and brought her daughters with her, while her husband remained in the United States and visited them regularly. However, M. was forced to flee her hometown in Honduras after her husband was killed by an influential community member and the police refused to investigate. She later began a relationship with a new partner, C., who physically and verbally abused her for many years until she was finally able to leave, even though it left her jobless and raising all of her children on her own. In the summer of 2016, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang 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 members began stalking G. at her home multiple times a day. 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. sent her daughters back to the U.S. to live with family in Indiana and then fled to the United States herself, where she was detained. She was initially denied relief while appearing pro se, but NIJC was able to get her case reopened and get M. released from detention. M. is now reunited with her daughters and they are all working to recover from the multiple traumas they have endured. M. is only eligible for withholding of removal because of her prior deportation. 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.

60. 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.


61. 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 in late 2016. Her previous attorneys timely filed M.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials will be due prior to their merits hearing in 2020.


62. 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. live in Champaign, IL. Although T. speaks some Spanish, their primary language is Kanjobal and will need an interpreter in that language. NIJC will assist their attorneys in identifying 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 did not 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.

63. 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 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 do not bar L. from receiving asylum, but will need to be addressed for purposes of the judge’s discretionary decision. NIJC timely filed L.’s I-589 application for asylum with the immigration court. L.’s affidavit and other supporting documents will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing in 2021.

64. 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 skeletal applications for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to their case will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing.

65. B. is a woman from Mexico. Her two sons, S. and A., will be derivatives on her asylum application. Their merits hearing is on April 12, 2022. L. is B.’s young grandson. Because he was designated an unaccompanied immigrant child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he is in removal proceedings. L.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is June 10, 2019. M. is B.’s oldest son. Because he entered separately from his family and is not in removal proceedings, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application. B., her sons, and grandson speak Spanish and live in central Wisconsin. (18-0128550) (18-0128674) (18-0128678) (18-0129157)

The fathers of all of B.’s five children were physically and verbally abusive, and by the time she was an adult she was forced to relocate to a different part of Mexico in order to get away from them, even though it meant raising all of her children on her own. She also cared for her grandson L., who thought of his uncles – B.’s teenage sons – as his brothers. In about 2014, when B.’s oldest son, M., turned 17, cartel members forcibly recruited him to work for them. M. resisted, and the cartel members so brutally assaulted him they thought they had killed him. Shortly after, M. fled to the United States to escape the cartel. When B.’s son S. turned 17 in late 2017, he faced the same fate as his older brother and began to be forcibly recruited to work for the cartel. They told S. that they would kill his mother if he refused to work for them. When S. refused to work for them, cartel members would break into their home and grab him in front of B. and the rest of his family. L. would hide under the bed and shut his eyes as he heard his uncles scream. Fearing for S.’s life, B. decided to flee to the United States with S., A., and L., but because L. was B.’s grandson and not her biological child, he was separated from her at the border. NIJC timely filed B.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to her case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing in 2022. Although L.’s case is based on the same facts, his asylum application must be filed first with USCIS. USCIS must receive L.’s skeletal application for asylum by April 23, 2019. Because M.’s one-year deadline to apply for asylum has passed, USCIS must receive his skeletal application for asylum as soon as possible. All affidavits and supporting documents to L. and M’s cases will be due one week prior to their interviews at the asylum office. The interview timeline for his interview is uncertain.

66. L. is a man from Guatemala. L.’s merits hearing is April 26, 2022. 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 with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to L’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing in 2022. 

67. R. is a woman from Mongolia. She speaks Mongolian and lives in Chicago, IL. NIJC will assist her attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (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.

68. P. is a woman from Togo. P. speaks Ewe and limited French and lives in Chicago, IL. NIJC will assist her attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (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.
 

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.


69. P. is a man from Nicaragua. P.’s next Master Calendar Hearing on February 28, 2019. He speaks Spanish and is detained at Pulaski County Detention Center in Ullin, IL. (19-0131725)

The Nicaraguan government forced P. into mandatory military conscription in 1986. In 1987, P. was sent to military prison for three months for his refusal to participate in battle against the opposition. In 2001, P. was brutally beaten and stabbed five times by members of the Sandinista party for not helping to recruit new members. P. participated in all opposition marches beginning in May 2018. In June 2018, paramilitaries came to his business, threatened to kill him, and threw a mortar into his business, which exploded. In October 2018, masked paramilitaries came to P.’s business and tried to force him to participate in a pro-Sandinista march, threatening to charge him with terrorism and to imprison him for 20 years if he did not. In fear for his life, P. fled the country in October 2018. NIJC has not yet filed the I-589, but it will need to be filed at the hearing. Detained cases are generally docketed within 6 to 8 weeks for a merits date.

70. H. is a man from Nicaragua. His merits hearing is on April 9, 2019. He speaks Spanish and is detained at McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, IL. (18-0131453)

As a student, H. was active in student government and refused to align himself with the Sandinista party. In the summer of 2018, government officials saw H. bringing water to protestors. A few days later, he was kidnapped and taken to a Sandinista safe house where he was beaten and verbally abused. One of his professors, who had often tried to get H. to unite with the Sandinista Party, was at the safe house, directing masked men to beat H. These men threatened to kill H. and his children if he did not join forces with them. Ultimately, they threw H. onto the street. H. fled as quickly as he could and entered the United States in October 2018. All affidavits and supporting materials in her case will be due 15 days prior to the merits date. Detained cases are generally docketed within 6 to 8 weeks for a merits date.

71. R. is a man from Nicaragua. His merits hearing is on March 22, 2019. He speaks Spanish and is detained at Kenosha County Detention Center in Kenosha, WI. (18-0131442).

R. was a public sanitation worker in Chinandega, Nicaragua. In 2010, R. was beaten, arrested, and detained for 21 days because he would not support pro-Sandinista marches. In September of 2017, a government employee brutally beat him and cut him on various parts of his body with a machete for his support of the opposition party. He spent eight days in the hospital. In April of 2018, because of his position as a government employee, R. was asked by the party secretaries of his region to violently repress the peaceful protests happening in his city. He refused to do so for months, leading to his decision to leave Nicaragua in August 2018. R. fears that if he returns to Nicaragua he will be killed due to his consistent refusal to assist the party secretaries. All affidavits and supporting materials in her case will be due 15 days prior to the merits date. Detained cases are generally docketed within 6 to 8 weeks for a merits date.
 

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Cases

SIJS is a form of immigration relief available to unmarried children who have suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment by a parent or legal guardian.  In order to apply for this relief, the child must first have a state court order asserting that they have suffered abuse, abandonment or neglect.  In these matters, NIJC represents the child in her immigration case, and will attend all immigration court dates with the child. The pro bono attorney handles the state court matter only, representing the parent or guardian to obtain a custody or guardianship order with the special findings necessary for SIJS. NIJC will work closely with the pro bono attorney to ensure that the pleadings and orders in state court comply with the immigration requirements.

72. A. is a 13-year-old boy from Mexico. He speaks Spanish and lives with his mother in Kane County, Illinois. A pro bono attorney is needed to represent A.’s mother in a custody and parentage case. (16-0104982) 

A. has not had a relationship with his father in many years. Raised primarily by his mother, his parents separated when he was very young and he has never lived with or visited his father, and his father has never provided any support for him. When A.’s mother came to the United States in approximately 2014, A. was cared for by his grandmother and an aunt.  A. came to the United States in November of 2015 to be reunited with his mother. He was apprehended and detained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and eventually released to his mother’s care in December 2015. The pro bono attorney will need to file a custody and parentage case on behalf of A’s mother. Although A.’s father’s name is not on A.’s birth certificate, A.’s mother believes his father would sign an acknowledgement of paternity, which would need to be established in the case. The attorney must obtain an order finding that A’s reunification with his father is not viable due to abandonment and/or neglect, and that it is not in A’s best interest to return to Mexico.

73. J. is a 17-year-old girl from Guatemala. She speaks Spanish and Akateko, and lives with her mother in Madison County, Illinois. J. turns 18 in September of 2019. A pro bono attorney is needed to represent J.’s mother in a custody case. (16-0104231) *Urgent*

J.’s father abandoned her when she was a baby.  When J. was two years old, her mother came to the United States, where she lived briefly with J.’s father before leaving him due to his severe physical abuse.  J. was raised by her grandparents in Guatemala, but after her grandmother died, J.’s grandfather’s new wife began to abuse J. J. also began receiving sexual harassment and threats from gang members in her town.  J. fled to the United States in 2015.  J. was apprehended and detained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and released to her mother’s care in January 2016.  The pro bono attorney will need to file a custody case in Madison County on behalf of J.’s mother, and obtain an order finding that J’s reunification with her father is not viable due to abandonment, and that it is not in J’s best interest to return to Guatemala.  This order MUST be obtained prior to J’s 18th birthday in September 2019.

U Visa

74. E. is a 41-year-old woman from Mexico who is eligible to file a U visa application. E. requires a waiver of inadmissibility. E. speaks Spanish and resides in Chicago, IL. E.’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before April 25, 2019. (18-0129293)(19-0131819)

E. is the indirect victim of a felonious assault. E.’s son was killed during a drive by shooting. E.’s other son, who was present during the altercation, also sustained a gunshot wound. E. showed up to scene of the crime and has suffered severe trauma due to this incident. E. cooperated fully with the investigation of the crime and wishes to move forward with her life here in the United States with her United States citizen children.


75. E. is a 41-year-old woman from Mexico who is eligible to file a U visa application. E. requires a waiver of inadmissibility. E. speaks Spanish and resides in a southwest suburb of Chicago, IL. E.’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before May 31, 2019. (19-0131754)(19-0131772)

E is the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-partner, D. D. was verbally and emotionally abusive towards E. throughout their ten-year relationship. On one occasion, when D. became extremely violent and hit E. in the face, E. became afraid for her and her daughter’s life and called the police. D. fled and forced E. and her daughter to go with him, refusing to let them leave. E. was eventually able to escape and she alerted the authorities of D.’s whereabouts. E. was extremely helpful in the investigation and prosecution of this crime. E. obtained an emergency order of protection against D. and wishes to move on with her life here in the United States, with her United States citizen daughter.

76. A. is a 51-year-old woman from Mexico who is eligible to file a U visa application. A. requires a waiver of inadmissibility. A. speaks Spanish and resides in Chicago. A’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before July 02, 2019. (18-0130194)(18-0131124)

A.’s minor United States citizen daughter R. was the victim of sexual assault by an unknown offender she met online. The offender convinced R. to leave her home and sexually assaulted R. once they were alone. A. reported the crime to the police and made a missing’s person’s report. A. cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime to which she is an indirect victim. A. and her family have suffered significant trauma due to this incident and wish to move on with their lives here in the United States.

77. E. is a 38-year-old woman from Mexico who is eligible to file a U visa application. E. requires a waiver of inadmissibility. E. speaks Spanish and resides in Chicago, IL. E.’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before July 03, 2019. (18-0126382)( 18-0128171)

E.’s minor United States citizen daughter, J., was the victim of rape and repeated criminal sexual assault by E.’s ex-partner. E. found out about the abuse when J. disclosed it at school and then reported it to the police. E. cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime of which she is an indirect victim. E. is working hard to rebuild her family after such a traumatic experience and wishes to remain here in the United States with her daughter.


78. A. is a 39-year-old woman from Mexico who is eligible to file a U visa application. A. requires a waiver of inadmissibility. A. speaks Spanish and resides in a northern suburb of Chicago, IL. A.’s application must be submitted to USCIS on or before July 08, 2019. (19-0132187)(19-0132192)

A. is the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-partner, R. R. was verbally and physically abusive towards A. throughout their relationship. On one occasion, R. came home intoxicated and punched A. in the head and threw her against a car while A. was holding her 1-year-old daughter. When the authorities arrived, A. made a report. A. then obtained an order of protection against R. A. has attended therapy in order to overcome the trauma she has suffered due to this incident and the anxiety she continues to suffer. A. wishes to remain in the United States and continue supporting her two United States Citizen children.
 

NIJC Announcements

Updated Pro Bono Materials Available Regarding Matter of A-B-

NIJC continues to update its Matter of A-B- attorney resource page with new materials for attorneys with asylum clients whose claims may be impacted by the Attorney General’s decision.  Recent additions include an updated practice advisory that discusses the recent District Court decision in Grace v. Whitaker and a webinar from asylum experts at NIJC and Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program regarding establishing the nexus element of an asylum claim after Matter of A-B-.  Please click here to access these resources.

The Immigration World is Changing! 

Stay informed on the changes that may affect your pro bono matters by checking NIJC’s Immigration Procedural Updates page.  Recent updates include information regarding the impact of the partial government shutdown on immigration adjudications.