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NIJC Case List: April 23, 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, 62 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

Asylum: Expedited Family Cases


Recently, as part of the Administration’s plan to reduce immigration court caseloads, Chicago Immigration Court judges have been required to expedite the adjudication of certain “family unit” cases by scheduling them for merits hearings before remote judges based in “adjudication centers” in Texas and Virginia who will preside over the hearing via video-teleconference. NIJC has grave concerns about the due process violations that may occur during these hearings and knows access to counsel will be critical to ensure these asylum-seeking families aren’t prejudiced by this new policy. These families urgently need pro bono representation

1. R. is a woman from Mexico. R.’s daughter M. will be a derivative on her application for asylum. R.’s merits hearing is July 31, 2019. R. and her daughter speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (18-0130770) (18-0131022) *Urgent*

For many years, R.’s partner, S., supported their family by operating a small restaurant, which he named after R. Eventually, a cartel 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 what happened to her son, but the 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. fled 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 in July 2019.

2. N. is a woman from Honduras. N.’s son J. will be a derivative on her application for asylum. N.’s merits hearing is August 12, 2019. N. and her son speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL. (19-0131665) (19-0131666) *Urgent*

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, sexually, and physically. Z. also beat N.’s children when they tried to defend N. from the abuse. N. reported the abuse to the local police, but the police only detained Z. for one day, and once released, Z. told N. 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. NIJC will timely file N.’s application for asylum with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to N.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing in August 2019.

3. L. is a woman from El Salvador. Her son, K., will be a derivative on her application. Their next Master Calendar hearing is May 7, 2019. L. speaks Spanish and lives in central Indiana. (18-0124075)(18-0124088) *Urgent*

A member of the Mara Salvatrucha (“MS”) gang forced L. into a relationship with him. He stalked, beat, raped, and threatened her. He also threatened to kill her son, K. He told L. that if she ever tried to leave him, he would kill her. L. reported the abuse to the police, but they refused to help her. Later, the gang member murdered K.’s father. The family of K.’s father blamed L. for his death and in response, K.’s uncle, a police officer, went to L.’s house with other officers to beat and sexually assault L. Fearing for her life, L. fled to the United States with K. The MS gang member has since threatened to kill L. because she left him, and continues to look for L. in El Salvador. NIJC timely filed L.’s asylum application with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials for L.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which will likely occur before October 2019 because L. and K. have been designated as “family unit” cases.

4. 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 next Master Calendar hearing is May 9, 2019. U. and M. speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (19-0131810) (19-0131812) *Urgent*

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, U. and M. fled to the United States. The immigration court must receive U.’s and M.’s skeletal applications for asylum by May 9, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to U.’s and M.’s cases will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing, which will likely occur before October 2019 because they have been designated as “family unit” cases.

5. G. is a woman from Mexico. Her daughters, J. and Y., will be derivatives on her application. Their next Master Calendar Hearing is on May 16, 2019. G. and her daughters speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL. (18-0130988) (18-0130989) (18-0130990) *Urgent*

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 will likely occur before October 2019 because G. and her daughters have been designated as “family unit” cases.

 

Detained Asylum Seekers     

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

6. B., a man from Burundi, has his merits hearing on June 14, 2019. He is Kirundi speaks Kinyarwanda. He is detained at Dodge County Detention Center in Juneau, WI. (19-0132705) *Urgent*

As a pastor in Burundi, B. preached about human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burundian government. He also worked at a human rights organization, where he assisted prisoners and detained individuals. In October 2018, members of the political party in power began throwing rocks at his house and leaving threatening messages because of his opposition to the government. In early December of 2018, police arrested B. at his home in the middle of the night and took him to a remote prison where they beat him for three days. On the fourth day, he was able to escape with the help of a bribe paid by his brother. He fled to Rwanda, but the Burundian police force figured out where he was living and threatened to kill him. He fled to Uganda until he was able to get a flight to the United States.  All affidavits and supporting materials will be due 15 days prior to the merits date.

7. Z. is a 28 year-old man from Cuba. Z.’s merits hearing is June 11, 2019. Z. is detained at the Kenosha County Detention Center and speaks Spanish. (19-0133122). *Urgent*

Z. is a member of the Partido Nacionalist Cubano (PNC), an opposition group in Cuba. While living in Cuba, his work involved fundraising for family members of political prisoners and participation in social media groups opposed to the Cuban government. After joining the group in 2015, Z. stopped participating in state-mandated meetings, celebrations and parades. In July 2018, police officers arrived at his home and arrested him. At the police station, they accused him of sharing information about government abuses in Cuba and beat him. After 48 hours, the police released Z. but told him to stop speaking out against the Cuban government. In September, Z. was again approached by police officers who threatened him and his family with forced disappearance if he did not stop protesting the government. In October, Z. fled Cuba for Guyana and made his way to the United States where he presented himself and requested asylum in February 2019. Since his departure, government officials have gone looking for him at his family members’ homes. Z. is afraid to return to Cuba because of his political involvement with the PNC. All affidavits and supporting materials will be due 15 days prior to the merits date.

 

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.

8. A. is a young man 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.

9.  M. and J. are siblings from El Salvador. Because they are unaccompanied children, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over their asylum applications even though they are in removal proceedings. M. and J.’s removal proceedings have been administratively closed and they do not currently have a future hearing date scheduled. They speak Spanish and live in Chicago, IL. (16-0104948)

M. and J.’s maternal uncle was a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang in El Salvador. Their uncle was involved in an intense feud with members of the Mara 18 (M-18) gang in the same community, and the violence and threats spread quickly to M. and J.’s family as well. Eventually M. and J.’s uncle was murdered by the M-18, but then began to target and extort his remaining family, including M. and J.’s parents. When J. was just 14 years old, an older man began to pursue her, and she later found out that he was a gang member. He pressured her to enter a relationship with him, and when J. refused, he verbally abused her and threatened her. J. had to stop going to school to avoid the threats. Fearing that they would never be able to be safe from the gangs, M. and J. fled to the United States in 2016. NIJC filed their applications for asylum with USCIS. All affidavits and supporting documents to M. and J.’s case will be due one week prior to their interview at the asylum office. The timeline for his interview is uncertain.

10. F. is a young man from Honduras. Because he is an unaccompanied child, USCIS has initial jurisdiction over his asylum application, even though he is in removal proceedings. F.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is January 7, 2020. He speaks Spanish and lives in Northcentral Indiana. (18-0123117)

Two rival gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Mara 18 (M-18), controlled F.’s neighborhood in Honduras. When F. was around 13 years old, M-18 members murdered his older brother. After his brother’s death, the gang started to demand extortion payments from F.’s family, threatening to hurt them if they did not comply. During the same period, members of both gangs were trying to forcibly recruit F. F. always resisted these attempts, even though he believed that resisting the gangs could put his life at risk. Fearing for his life, F. fled to the United States in 2017. NIJC has already completed significant preparation in O.’s case. 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.

11. 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 northwest 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

 

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. C. is a lesbian woman from Jamaica. She speaks English and lives in Chicago (19-0133207).

C. was regularly identified as a lesbian in Jamaica due to her gender expression. She was verbally harassed and attacked because she presented as masculine – she has been called a sodomite and other homophobic slurs; has been held at gunpoint; and whipped with an electrical wire; and her clothing store was burned down. Years ago, two of her friends were killed for being lesbians. In 2016, her brother was murdered after he defended C. when she was disrespected for her sexual orientation. C. came to the United States on September 28, 2018 on a visa and married her U.S. citizen girlfriend, but has decided to seek asylum rather than status through her spouse. USCIS must receive her skeletal asylum application by September 28, 2019. Her affidavit and supporting documents will be due one week prior to her asylum interview, which will likely occur about 4-6 weeks after filing.

17. 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.

18. N. is a gay man from Nigeria. He speaks English and lives in Chicago. (19-0132419)

N. had his first romantic relationship with a man at age 14, but it ended shortly after when his family learned about it and began praying for him and telling him he would be condemned. N. went on to have a relationship with two women as an attempt to ease his family’s worries. He had a son with his first partner and the relationship ended soon after. He married his second partner, but when his wife learned that he was gay, she began emotionally and physically abusing him. She often threatened to have him arrested for being gay and used these threats to coerce N. into performing sexual acts. In February 2018, N. was arrested and harassed by police for attending a “gay party.” He was released shortly after because the police knew he worked in media. N. has witnessed gay people being beaten in the streets and does not believe that police will be willing to protect him if he were openly gay. N. has also received criticism from coworkers who suspect he may be gay. He believes his career will end if he comes out, which would leave him with no protection from police harassment. USCIS must receive A.’s asylum application by December 20, 2019. All affidavits and supporting materials to A.’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.

19  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 United States with S. at local church in an attempt to change his sexual orientation. S. is now 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. 

 

Asylum Claims Based on Domestic and Gender Violence

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

20. 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  he 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.

21. 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.

22. D. is a young man from India. He speaks Punjabi and some English and lives in central Illinois. D.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is on May 28, 2019. (18-0124944)

Throughout his childhood, D.’s father abused him both physically and emotionally. D.’s father is an alcoholic, and he eventually forced D. to withdraw from school so that D. could work and provide extra money for his father to buy alcohol. When D. resisted going to work or refused to give his father the money he had earned, D.’s father would attack and beat him, often in public. D.’s father was also abusive towards D.’s mother and his younger brother. Fearing that his father could kill him, D. fled to the United States. NIJC timely filed D.’s skeletal asylum application with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to D.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

23. 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.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.

24. 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. 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.

25. 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 theUnited 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.

26. 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.

27. 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.

28. Q. is a woman from Honduras. Her son, Y., will be a derivative on her application. Q. and Y.’s merits hearing is November 9, 2022. 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.’sfamily 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 in 2022.

29. 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.

30. 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)

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. 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.

31. N. is a woman from Guatemala. N.’s daughter, F., will be a derivative on her application for asylum. N.’s first Master Calendar Hearing is May 9, 2019. F.’s first Master Calendar hearing is July 11, 2019. N. and F. speak Kanjobal and live in Chicago. NIJC will assist her attorneys in identifying an interpreter. (18-0129734) (18-0130545)

After N. married her husband, she moved in with his family and was frequently left alone with them for long periods of time while he was away for work. The family insulted N., and frequently prevented her from leaving the house. In 2015 while N. was alone in the home, her brother-in-law broke in and raped her. Afterwards, he told her that he would kill her and her family if she reported him to the police. Initially, N. kept the rape a secret, fearing repercussions from her brother-in-law and the possibility that local authorities might not listen to or believe her because she only spoke an indigenous language. N. became depressed and increasingly fearful of her husband’s family. When she finally disclosed the rape to her husband, he assisted her in reporting the crime to the police. However, the police did not punish  N.’s rapist or offer her any protection, even though N.’s brother-in-law continued to make threats against N. and her family to other members of the community. Fearing for her life, N. fled to the United States with F. in 2017. NIJC filed N. and F.’s applications for asylum with the immigration court more than one year after they entered the United States. N.’s pro bono attorneys will need to move to consolidate N. and F.’s cases before the court, and argue that they merit an exception to the one-year filing deadline. NIJC will assist them in making that argument. All affidavits and supporting documents to N.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

32. 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.

33. 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.

34. E. is a woman from Mexico who is seeking asylum with her mother, O., her adult daughter, J., and J.’s son, H., who will be a derivative on J.’s application. E.’s next Master Calendar hearing is June 11, 2019. J.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is September 13, 2019.  H. speak Spanish and live in Chicago. (19-0132005)(19-0132459)(19-0132536)(19-0132566)

Members of a cartel murdered E.’s brother while he was with E.’s son S. During the wake for E.’s brother, cartel members stormed into O.’s house and opened fire on the crowd gathered to pay their respects. The cartel members killed E.’s son and O.’s partner, along with several others. E.’s daughter, J., recognized three of the shooters. J. collaborated with local law enforcement officers to identify the shooters. While J. reported the crime, cartel members invaded her home and opened fire. Fearing for their lives, E., O, J., and H. fled to a nearby state. After they fled, cartel members stalked J. and threatened to kill her and her entire family if she did not stop the investigation. In early 2018, local officials warned J. that they could not protect her or her family. They advised E., J., O., and H. to flee the country to avoid being killed by the cartel members. NIJC timely filed E.’s application for asylum and J.’s application for asylum, on which H. is a derivative, with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting documentation to E. and J.’s cases will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. Although O. was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) when she entered the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet filed her NTA with the immigration court. NIJC will timely file O.’s asylum application with USCIS. Unless and until her NTA is filed with the immigration court, her affidavit and supporting documents will be due one week prior to her interview at the asylum office.

35. 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.

36. 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.

37. 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. 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.

38. T. is a man from Colombia. His wife, V., and his children, S. and R., are all derivatives on his application for asylum. T.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is July 11, 2019. T. and his family speak Spanish and live in a western suburb of Chicago. (18-0131165) (19- 0131726) (19-0131727) (19-0131729)

T. worked in intelligence collection for the Colombian government for many years. In late 2016, a grenade explosion in T.’s neighborhood resulted in the death of a member of a local cartel, and other cartel members immediately suspected that T. had been involved because of his connection to the government. Despite the fact that T. was not involved in the attack and had no previous tension with the cartel members in his neighborhood, they began to aggressively threaten him. On at least two occasions, masked gunman chased T. and opened fire on him, but T. was able to escape. T. eventually had to leave his job and relocate his family to another area of the country, but the cartel managed to locate them again after a few months and renewed their threats against his life. T. and his family fled to the United States in 2018. His family in Colombia continues to receive threats from the cartel. T. filed a timely, pro se application for asylum with USCIS, but the asylum office declined to grant his application, and referred his cases to the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting documentation to T.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.  

39. L. is a woman from El Salvador. Her sons, F. and N., will be derivatives on L.’s application for asylum. L.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is July 19, 2019. 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.

40. 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 threatenher 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.

41. A. is a man from Honduras. His daughter, T., will be a derivative on his application for asylum. A.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is October 23, 2019. 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. NIJC timely filed A.’s skeletal application for asylum with the immigration court. 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.

42. S. is a woman from Honduras. Her husband, R., is independently eligible for asylum and is also a derivative on S.’s application. S. and R.’s son, J., is a derivative on both S.’s application for asylum as well as R.’s. S. and R.’s next Master Calendar Hearing is October 30, 2019. S., R. and J. speak Spanish and live in Northcentral Indiana. (18-0128023) (18-0128196) (18-0128198)

In late 2017, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang attacked R. because they believed he had been assisting an enemy of the gang. R. was hospitalized and the police visited him to ask him to identify his attackers. Believing the police to be corrupt, R. refused to describe the gang members. Soon thereafter, gang members approached R., told him they appreciated his refusal to snitch on them, and began pressuring him to join the gang. R. refused, and the gang began threatening him and attempting to forcibly recruit him. In May of 2018, gang members forced their way into R. and S.’s home. They threatened to kill J., tied R. to a chair, and forced R. and J. to watch as they repeatedly raped S. After the gang members left their house, the family fled to the United States. NIJC filed R. and S.’s skeletal applications for asylum with the immigration court. NIJC has already drafted affidavits with R. and S., which will need to be developed and finalized by their pro bono attorneys prior to submitting them in support of their asylum case. All affidavits and supporting materials to R., S., and J.’s cases will be due 15 days prior to their merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.
 

43. D. is a woman from Togo. Her next Master Calendar Hearing is January 22, 2020. 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.

44. 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. 

45. Y. is a woman from Guatemala. Her two children, R. and E., will be derivatives on her asylum application. Although she is in removal proceeding, there is currently no future hearing date scheduled in her case. Y. and her children speak Spanish and live in Northeast Indiana. (19-0132139) (19-0132469) (19-0132470)

As a young girl, Y. suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her aunt, and then later by multiple domestic partners. At 13 years old, Y. moved in with her first partner. He began abusing her at age 17, after she gave birth to her first child, and then abused her for over six years. A second domestic partner began abusing Y. in approximately 2015. This partner was a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang and he physically and sexually abused Y. in front of her children for almost three years and threatened them all with death multiple times. Y. fled Guatemala in October 2018 with her two children and traveled with a caravan of refugees for safety. The immigration court must receive Y.’s skeletal application for asylum, with R. and E. included as derivatives, by January 10, 2020. All affidavits and supporting materials to Y.’s case will be due 15 days prior to her merits hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

46. 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.

47. 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, and NIJC will assist them in making that argument. All affidavits and supporting materials to G.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing.

48. 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.

49. 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 Northcentral 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. movedto 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 and 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 are eligible to seek asylum. Counsel will also need to supplement their applications with affidavits, a brief, and supporting documents prior to their merits hearing.

50. 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.

51. C. is a woman from El Salvador. Her daughters V. and G. are derivatives on her application for asylum. Her merits hearing is September 16, 2020. C. and her daughters speak Spanish and live in central Indiana. (17-0119773) (17-0120094) (17-0120093)

Since C. was a little girl, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang has had strict control over her community in El Salvador. When C.’s husband tried to start his own business cultivating honey in the nearby mountains, gang members began extorting C. and her family for a portion of his profits. During the same period, MS members attempted to forcibly recruit C.’s brother into the gang, and made threats against his entire family, including C., when he refused. Eventually, C. and her husband could no longer afford the extortion payments to the gang. Threats dramatically escalated as gang members began to threaten to kill C. and her family for lack of payment. One day, one of the leaders of the gang came to C.’s home and told her that she and her family had to leave immediately because they were taking the house from them to make up for their missed extortion payments. C.’s husband reported the threats to the local police, but no investigation or any protection against the gang resulted. Fearing for their lives, C. and her family fled to the United States in 2017. NIJC timely filed C.’s application for asylum, with V. and G. included as derivatives, with the immigration court. All affidavits and supporting materials to C.’s case will be due 15 days prior her merits hearing in 2020.

52. 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.

53. 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.

54. Z. is a man from Honduras. His two daughters, C. and D., will be derivatives on his asylum application and independently qualify for asylum. Their merits hearing is April 5, 2021. Z. and his daughters speak Spanish and live in Indianapolis, IN. (18-0123478) (18- 0125746) (18-0125747)

The Mara Salvatrucha (MS) 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 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 applications for asylum with the immigration court for Z., C., and D. Their pro bono attorneys will need to argue that Z. merits an exception to the one-year filing deadline, and NIJC will assist them in making that argument. All affidavits and supporting documentation to Z.’s case will be due 15 days prior to his merits hearing in 2021.

55. 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.

56. 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.

57. 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.

58. B. is a woman from Mexico. Her two sons, S. and A., will be derivatives on her asylumapplication. 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.

59. 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.

60. 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 https://immigrantjustice.org/policy/blog for more information.

 

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.

61. 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.

62. 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.

NIJC Announcements

Pro Bono Training: Representing Asylum Seekers

On May 10, 2019 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Chapman and Cutler LLP, located at 111 West Monroe Street, will host a training for pro bono attorneys interested in representing asylum seekers – including immigrant children and detained immigrants – before the asylum office and the immigration court. Illinois CLE credit will be available, but space is limited! Please contact Anna Sears at ansears@heartlandalliance.org to RSVP or with any questions.

Pro Bono Training: Representing Immigrant Victims of Crimes (U Visas)

On May 31, 2019, from 12:00 – 2:00 pm, Dentons US LLP, located at 233 South Wacker Drive will host a training for pro bono attorneys interested in representing immigrant victims of crime who are eligible to apply for U Visas. This immigration benefit helps victims escape domestic violence, receive protection from deportation, and obtain work authorization. Illinois CLE credit will be available and lunch will be provided, but space is limited! Please contact Sylvia Wolak, at sywolak@heartlandalliance.org to RSVP or with any questions.