ArentFox Schiff Pro Bono Team Secures Asylum for Clients from El Salvador

On October 5, an ArentFox Schiff team that included Elise Yu and Rob Boley, with assistance from Mariam Chamilova, obtained an order granting asylum to our pro bono clients, a young mother from El Salvador and her daughter.

Our client grew up surrounded by gang violence and suffered physical and sexual abuse from her husband. At 16, she became pregnant and had no choice but to attempt to start a new life by marrying her baby's father, who abused her and later became involved with high-ranking Salvadoran gang members. She received death threats from gang members in El Salvador after refusing to pay them “rent” from the fruit stand where she worked. Despite her husband's credible threats to kill her and take away their daughter, our client resolved to escape with her daughter and seek asylum in the United States.

ArentFox Schiff filed our client's asylum application in late 2019, and her final merits hearing was delayed until this year. Our team drafted and filed the prehearing brief in support of the application and worked with an expert witness to prepare a report on country conditions in El Salvador. At the hearing, our team presented an offer of proof in lieu of our client's direct testimony, and our client was well prepared, confident, and credible on cross examination. The immigration judge agreed, orally granting asylum to our client on the spot, and commended ArentFox Schiff for our work on this matter and for our concise and thorough presentation at the hearing.

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