NIJC's Impact: Lives We've Touched

When Luis* was young, his mother abandoned him in Honduras, leaving him alone with an alcoholic father who regularly beat him. When Luis was 15 years old, his father received a life sentence in Honduras for attempted murder. With no one to care for him, he made his way to the United States, where he was promptly detained in San Antonio, Texas,...

A Cook County public defender consulted the National Immigrant Justice Center about a Colombian survivor of domestic violence who had been charged with a class-three felony for vandalism. The woman has resided in the United States for 11 years and is the mother of two U.S. citizen children. NIJC's Defenders Initiative advised the public...

In the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case Martinez-Buendia v. Holder, NIJC established that people who are persecuted because of their perceived political activity are eligible for asylum as “members of a particular social group.” Ms. Buendia led a “health brigade” in Colombia, an organization that provides healthcare to the...

NIJC partner pro bono attorneys won asylum for a prominent Guatemalan government lawyer and his family who survived kidnapping and death threats before they fled to the United States. In early 2009, the lawyer worked with his neighbors to petition the government to build a security gate to protect their families from gang crimes and violence. A...

Sara* was only 16 years old when her father's brothers forced her to become the fourth wife of a 60 year old man. As a precondition to the marriage, Sara was subjected to female genital mutilation against her will. Sara suffered greatly in the marriage, as she was treated badly by her husband and frequently beaten by her co-wives. She attempted...

Pablo* grew up in Guatemala, where his father was an alcoholic and regularly abused and beat him, his siblings, and his mother. On many occasions, Pablo's father also forced him and his mother and siblings out of the house. As the eldest child, Pablo’s family expected him to provide for them and would no longer allow him to live at home. When...

Ana*, a diabetic from the Philippines, entered the United States in 2001 on a visa. Due to an error in filing for an extension, she fell out of lawful status. In 2005, Ana gave birth to her U.S. citizen son. Soon thereafter, her partner left her. Working to support her son and herself, Ana relied on child care for her infant. However, when the...

In the late 1990s, a notary public provided unauthorized and fraudulent legal advice to Diego* and his father when they attempted to file a petition to allow Diego to live in the United States. As a result, the government denied Diego's application and placed him in deportation proceedings. In 2003, the court ordered Diego to leave the United...

An Illinois federal defender contacted the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) regarding a client who had lawful permanent resident status and had lived in the United States since he was a child. The man had no prior arrests, but had used a false social security number in filing bankruptcy. With NIJC's help, the defender was able to...

Carlos* grew up in a Latin American country with a pattern of aggressive anti-gay violence. By the time he was 16, Carlos had suffered severe verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from family, peers, and teachers because they perceived him as gay. After the police discovered his sexual identity, Carlos fled and lived for the next ten years under...