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Help Mayra Machado Reunite with Her Kids

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Mayra Machado was brought to this country as a five year old from El Salvador.  Mayra was brought up as an American in Southern California.  By the time she was an adult, she was living in Arkansas.  At 18, she wrote a hot check and was charged.  Even though the judge recognized that this was a first-time offense, she ended up with a suspended ten-year sentence of stacked charges that stemmed from this one fraudulent check. A decade later in 2015, she was picked up on a minor traffic violation, but by this time, Obama had expanded the programs that deputized local law enforcement as immigration agents, and so instead of paying for a traffic ticket she was taken from her three US citizen children and put in detention in Louisiana, facing deportation.

I helped in her asylum case as an expert witness on country conditions in El Salvador, but after being denied relief by an immigration judge she was deported in early 2017.  In El Salvador, she faced harassment by government officials and gang members who threatened her with sexual assault.  Missing her children, she returned to the US after a few months and a year later was again picked up on a traffic violation and again sent to detention in rural Louisiana.  It was in this Geo-run ICE facility that Mayra organized her own legal filings for asylum and called me to act as an expert witness.  I secured a pro bono lawyer for her, but she lost her case again. While her appeal was pending in the 5th Circuit court in early 2020, she was put on a plane in the middle of the night back to El Salvador where she lives today, still separated from her three young children.

The only chance that Mayra has to be reunited with her children is for her to get a pardon from the Arkansas governor for her 2005 criminal offense.  If that criminal record is expunged, then she stands a much better chance in her asylum claim. In order to get a pardon, she first must pay $2000 restitution for the hot check charge.  

I am attempting to raise $3000 to pay her restitution and associated legal expenses for the pardon.

 A fuller description of Mayra's story is in chapter 5 of my book Forever Prisoners .
Mayra is currently living in San Salvador helping children there reunite with their parents who have emigrated to the United States. Please help Mayra reunite with her kids.


  • Natali Clarke
    • $150 
    • 3 yrs
  • Jonathan Hillyer
    • $50 
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  • Reiko Hillyer
    • $75 
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  • Julian Lim
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Annie Baker
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs


Elliott Young
Portland, OR

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