National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1818, Chicago, IL 60604
Impact: Family Reunites after Gang Violence Threatens Their Lives
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 few months later, the client received a note from the Mara Salvatrucha gang demanding that he pay the gang and threatened to kill him and his family. The client immediately contacted the police, who did not respond. The client sent his wife and youngest son to the United States while he and his older son went into hiding. The gang found them and attempted to kidnap the son. The father and son finally decided to flee to the United States, where they reunited with their family. Even though the family received asylum in the United States, the gang continues to threaten relatives who remain in Guatemala.