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Weil Secures Asylum for Salvadoran Migrant Escaping Violence

A Weil team represented a gay Salvadoran migrant who faced violence at the hands of the Salvadoran police, his family, MS-13 gang members, and co-workers on account of his sexual orientation. Upon crossing the border into Texas, our client was immediately apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and placed in removal proceedings, where he sought asylum pro se. He was then released on bond, and he moved to Virginia to live with his extended family.

Immigration Equality, a nonprofit organization that helps LGBTQ individuals obtain legal aid in immigration proceedings, matched him with the Firm in October 2017. Since then, Weil has prepared our client's amended asylum application, drawing on his experiences as an LGBTQ individual in El Salvador as conveyed by our client and other witnesses, including a psychologist who would serve as an expert witness.

The Weil team submitted a legal brief and supporting documents to the Arlington Immigration Court demonstrating that he satisfied the standard for fear of persecution as an LGBTQ individual if he returned to El Salvador, such that he merited asylum. The Weil team also mooted our client, the fact witnesses and the expert witness to prepare them to give testimony at court.

Due to the strength of our client's case and the legal brief submitted in support of his asylum claim, the immigration judge and DHS only heard our client provide testimony at the hearing before the judge issued a grant of asylum from the bench, and DHS waived its rights to appeal. After one year of having been granted asylum, our client will be able to adjust his immigration status and apply for lawful permanent residence.

The team included associate Denisse Velarde-Cubek and Carl Duffield.