Daniela* and her 11-year-old son, Marco, fled El Salvador after numerous death threats and repeated incidents of sexual abuse and domestic violence – only to be detained by U.S. immigration authorities in Dilley, Texas following a long and dangerous journey. The danger this family escaped was all too real – a friend of Marco’s who began the journey with them was apprehended and deported, only to be killed just days later by the same gang targeting Marco. In detention at Dilley, mother Daniela suffered terribly from psychological trauma. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety due to the extensive violence and persecution she suffered, and from the damaging effects of detention on her and her young son. She could not even articulate all she had gone through to the Asylum Officer – losing her one narrow chance to be allowed to present her asylum claim in court. As the federal government then moved quickly to try to deport her under “expedited removal” proceedings, it was only through the significant efforts of pro bono attorneys with the Dilley Pro Bono Project that she was able to work with an attorney, present the more difficult details of her claim for relief and obtain critical evidence to substantiate her claim. With that evidence, Daniela's negative decision was overturned. Daniela and Marco now have a real chance at due process. They are fighting their asylum case before the Immigration Court. They are no longer detained, and no longer living in fear of imminent deportation.
*For all names, pseudonyms have been used to protect the identities of the clients