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Weil Secures Asylum for Young Man Fleeing Gang Violence in El Salvador

A Boston pro bono team scored a major victory on November 29, 2018, when its client, a young man from El Salvador, was granted permanent residency based on his Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS, a form of asylum for minors) by the immigration court in Boston. The client, who arrived unaccompanied in Texas in 2014, was fleeing gang violence after being abandoned by his only living parent in El Salvador. He was reunited with extended family in Boston following his detention in Texas, and then was referred to Weil after proceedings were initiated to return him to El Salvador.

The Weil team on the matter included partner Shayla Harlev and associates Melanie Conroy and Kathleen Conley, assisted with translation by Rafael Santiago. The Boston-based team began working with the client when he was a young teenager, first appearing in state court proceedings involving his legal guardianship case to obtain an order of special findings. The team also represented the client before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Boston, successfully obtaining SIJS and securing work authorization for him. Finally, the team advocated for the client in federal immigration court, persuading the court and government counsel to terminate removal proceedings and grant him permanent residency in the United States following multiple evidentiary hearings.

The Weil pro bono team started working on the asylum case, which was referred by PAIR Project in Boston, in early 2015. The November 29 ruling by the immigration court is the result of a significant amount of work and effort by the team members over more than three years. As a result, this young man will soon receive his green card, and he can now remain in the United States with his close family members, continue his education and pursue his career.