A Day In The Life
Securing Asylum for Unaccompanied Minors in the Immigration Law Unit
Meet immigration attorney Carina Patritti, who recently won an incredible asylum victory for her young clients, brothers E and R.
E and R came from El Salvador in 2014, arriving as unaccompanied children at the ages of 15 and 13, respectively. In El Salvador, E and R suffered severe physical and psychological abuse by their grandfather and other caretakers, who also forced them to engage in child labor.
There is a lot of fear in immigrant communities. We’re here to explain their rights and give them a voice.
Carina and the LAS team began working with the siblings the year after their arrival and submitted their asylum applications before the Asylum Office. The Asylum Office did not grant their applications despite voluminous evidence of abuse and referred their cases to be heard by a Judge in Immigration Court. Five years after they entered the United States, they had their trial in court. Despite an evidence package demonstrating the abuse that E and R had experienced (including photos of the self-harm E inflicted on himself as a result of that abuse, and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for both brothers), the government attorney insisted that the siblings would have to testify, re-traumatizing them and exacerbating the pain they endured.
These were some of my first clients, so getting this vicotory after four years was incredible.
Finally, after E’s grueling testimony where he bravely spoke about the many years of severe abuse he and his brother had experienced and its impact on his psychological well-being, the judge and government attorney determined that no one else would need to testify.
Thanks to an amazing collaborative effort between Carina, a LAS youth social worker, and a paralegal, the Immigration Judge issued a written decision that granted asylum to both siblings in June 2019!
A contribution to The Legal Aid Society is about more than money.
Every donation helps us offer essential legal services to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, helping people buy food, pay rent, and care for themselves and their families.