Avoiding deportation back to gang violence

The Baltimore Sun has another story of a Salvadoran youth who fled to the US to escape the gangs of El Salvador and now seeks asylum in the US. The newspaper describes the legal fight waged by a lawyer in a prominent Baltimore firm providing pro bono representation to the 12 year old Salvadoran boy:
In general, asylum can be granted when someone has a well-founded fear of persecution for one of five reasons: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group. The last category has been tried in gang cases, but the appeals board said those resisting gang pressure do not make up a social group.

[Lawyer] Chowdhury knew he had to thread the needle. Santos faced peril in El Salvador, the lawyer reasoned, not because he'd resisted the gang, but for a very basic reason: "Because he was his brother's brother." And a nuclear family has long been an accepted social group for asylum cases.

But as the asylum hearing approached, Chowdhury worried any gang claim might fail because of the apparent judicial skepticism. And there was a hiccup: If Santos fled because of threats to his family, why were his mother and brother still in El Salvador?

Then in February, his mother and brother made it to Texas. She'd had enough when five MS-13 members beat Pablo Michael on a soccer field. Not only were his mother and brother now in the U.S., it meant they could testify at Santos' asylum hearing.

That was not necessary. On June 11, shortly after Santos spoke, Immigration Judge Philip T. Williams granted the boy asylum. The judge embraced Chowdhury's argument, noting that the family was "mistreated in the worst way" by MS-13.(more)

The Supreme Court will not be reviewing the case of three other Salvadorans who also fled El Salvador fearing gang violence. In August, I described the case of the Mira family, who managed to persuade the US Supreme Court to block their deportation while their asylum claims were being heard. The US Justice Department has now agreed to reopen the removal proceedings facing the Mira siblings, which allows them to stay in the US while their case continues to be argued. It also eliminated the need for the US Supreme Court to address the issue of gang recruitment in Central America as the basis for an asylum claim.


Griselda said…
Wish you all the best for the family seeking political asylum. We are not in civil war anymore, but still in war, gang's phenomenon has become powerful and I want somehow see short-term changes as common citizen but I acknowledge Mauricio isn't the wizard of Oz, but they have now ratified a law in which consist of blocking any call from jails, still I WANT SEE MORE, from reinforce prisons -create, improve, ground rules-PNC reengineering, funds for program-based, it is a challenge work!

You can watch the full note in here

aighmeigh said…
More people need to understand that the fear Salvadorans have surrounding gang violence is very real. If immigration officials would have taken my husband's fears seriously, he would still be with me and my daughter today.
Dear readers
Recently, many gang related documentaries have been aired throughout the world, but sometimes, you cannot just watch a video and pass judgment on people and a country before fully understanding the nature of the problem..
El Salvador is going through a drastic cultural change , and the said change is taking us through the path of fighting crime with all we got, just like the united states has done throughout its history.
What el Salvador needs, is not bad press, nor prejudiced comments, its needs a buddy system, meaning, a group of countries with the knowhow and funds to eradicate the issue at its roots.
Yes, i know, it is in fact a an ideal and utopist dream, but it could in fact work.
if we say that what we have is a socio-cultural problem, then let’s start by fighting the first part of this socio-cultural problem, not the end product. What we need is,
1- identify-analyze and create a solution for each of the items found, such as;
* lack of parental supervision
* lack of family unity
* lack of work training related programs
* lack of police brutality supervision
* lack of abuse protection laws and its enforcement.
* lack of mental health services for those” so called children of war”
Putting gang members in prison is just the temporary solution to the problem< when you put a gang member in jail, we perpetuate the cycle of abuse and violence talked about by many professionals, what we need is to stop. Think and process the right solutions.
The recent documentaries in gangs are close to 1% of the real truth of el Salvador, because it could only show the street value of the gangs, it did not show the professional and corporate value of the same gangs. it is in those levels that has to be stopped first. but off course, it is impossible to stop it at those levels, but it could be reduced to lower levels.
to those judging el Salvador based on this recent documentaries , I ask you to create instead of destroy the image of el Salvador.
Look for funds outside el Salvador, and create programs that could in fact create a solution for it.
Think and look for ways of supporting programs to assist these gang members on their way out of the gangs.
for people that have reached a higher level of professionalism and have ventured into politics. Help push for AID programs for el Salvador. But not programs ran by locals, they have to be programs ran by foreigners willing to give all for the cause and to keep them effective until the end.
Let’s create an international agency, to focus on developing programs (specifically for gang related individuals and gang affected communities)
As government they are doing what they can, but as citizens, we as well are responsible of helping end this problem, or at least, just at least find a common ground for all of us.
lets think and créate