Former IRC students Natalia Renta (JD ’15), Al Montelongo (JD ’15), Deepa Kannappan (JD ’16), and Christine Yoon (JD ’16) assisted Luisa,* who fled El Salvador to escape domestic and gang-based violence. Natalia and Al worked closely with Luisa over the Spring 2014 quarter to develop her case.
Luisa had never told anyone about what had happened to her, so Al and Natalia worked slowly and compassionately with her to elicit her story and begin developing her asylum claim. At the end of the quarter, Al and Natalia represented Luisa in immigration court, securing the opportunity for her to present her asylum case.
Later–in the Fall 2014 quarter–Deepa and Christine helped Luisa continue to tell her story, developed a declaration on her behalf, interviewed witnesses, and prepared a voluminous asylum submission that included expert reports, country conditions and witness statements. Deepa and Christine then represented Luisa again in immigration court, this time asking the immigration judge to permit her to present her case to an asylum officer in a non-adversarial setting, instead of in open court. The judge agreed, and Luisa had her asylum interview in the winter of 2015.
Just this week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it has approved Luisa’s asylum application. Luisa was overwhelmed with emotion at the news, and overjoyed that she can now stay in the United States legally and safe from the threat of future violence.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.