Single Mother Seeking Asylum

Update - February 17, 2020:

There is great news for the single mother and her 11-year-old son who have fled violence in their home country of El Salvador and are now living in Portage.  After arriving in the United States in February of 2019, her application for asylum has been officially submitted with a court date scheduled in July.  At this court date, the application will be reviewed and an asylum hearing date will be set.  Currently, asylum hearings are 2-3 years out, which means the family is essentially guaranteed to stay in the U.S. for at least for that long.

With that said, the single mother still needs financial help in two areas:   (1) Help paying off the loan her family took out to pay for the immigration lawyer and (2) Help with income until a work permit is issued, which will be a few months after her July court date. 


Summary:


A single mother and her 11-year-old son have fled violence in their home country of El Salvador and are now living in Portage.  They arrived in February of 2019, are officially seeking asylum status, and are racing against the 1-year deadline to do so.  For several months the family had a lawyer working on their case for free, but that lawyer and almost all others in the area have stopped taking asylum cases.  Further, immigration laws restrict the single mother from working or driving, which make it impossible to pay for living expenses, let alone a lawyer.  They are needing immediate assistance in raising $6,000 for a new lawyer to finish working on their asylum case.


Background:

This single mom never thought she would leave El Salvador, until the everyday violence became too much. After years of constant violence, threats and seeing people killed outside of their home this mom knew it was time she had to leave. Her son was 11 and she knew it was only a matter of time before he would be engulfed in the gang culture. After a gang related kidnapping at the school, she knew she had to leave for their safety. There was nowhere to seek safety in the country… she knew in order to keep her and her son safe they needed to come to the United States. This was the toughest decision of her life. She knew there was no legal option for her, so she took a leap of faith and did what she thought was best. After arriving in the United States she immediately turned herself in seeking asylum. To make things worse, she spent one week in immigration detention separated from her son.

After arriving in Feb of 2019, the family that she thought she would be able to seek refuge with turned their backs on her and she has been left without anything in a foreign country.  Luckily, Portage has welcomed her and she has found a home with her son’s extended family, a Spanish teacher in the community.  For several months the family had a lawyer working on their case for free, but that lawyer and almost all others in the area have stopped taking asylum cases.  Further, immigration laws restrict the single mother from working or driving, which make it impossible to pay for living expenses, let alone a lawyer.  

She hates the fact that she can’t work and is always looking to help others. Often times on Saturdays you will find her cooking traditional “Pupusas” to sell to help contribute to her living expenses. 

This journey was never anything that this mom had wished for, but like all moms, she wants to see her son thrive. Prior to moving into Portage her 11 year old son suffered from anxiety, depression and weight loss. All of these brought on by the constant fear and the horrible journey to get to the United States.  Since arriving in Portage he is learning and speaking English in his middle school, making friends and cries when he thinks about having to go back. 

Please consider helping this mom and son so they can continue to live and grow in Portage. They are seeking help to pay for their legal expenses as they apply for asylum.

Donations ()

  • Sue Kovats-Bell 
    • $75 
    • 7 d
  • Kathy and Bob Bensley 
    • $50 
    • 13 d
  • Barry Petrucci 
    • $100 
    • 17 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 17 d
  • Ryan Ledlow 
    • $20 
    • 21 d
See all

Organizer

Heather Canenguez 
Organizer
Portage, MI
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