According to reporting from The New Yorker, the United States government is using a provision in an anti-terror law as grounds for deporting a victim of terrorism. It is a shocking and gutwrenching story that demonstrates just how difficult it is to apply for asylum in this country. Here, our Los Angeles deportation lawyer summarizes the disturbing account — which is worth reading in its entirety.
A Woman Was Kidnapped, Forced Into Servitude By Guerilla Forces
The New Yorker article centers around the horrific story of an El Salvadoran native named Ana. Her identity is kept anonymous in order to protect her safety. During the Salvadoran Civil War that affected the country throughout the 1980s, Ana found herself in a difficult position. Her village saw conflict between government forces — which were backed by the United States — and guerilla rebels. She was forced to watch rebels execute her boyfriend, who was serving in the U.S. backed Salvadoran army.
Ana was then kidnapped by rebels forces, who held in servitude. She had to cook, clean, and do menial tasks for the guerilla group. Eventually, she couldn’t take it any longer. At incredible risk to her own well-being, she escaped in the middle of the night and made the 1,600-mile journey to the United States. In 1991, Ana arrived at the Southern Border. She made her way to New York state and applied for asylum. On the surface her claim is straightforward: if she goes back to El Salvador, she could be killed.
June 2018: The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Denies Her Claim
Stunningly, in June of 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied Ana’s asylum claim. As quoted from The New Yorker story, the BIA rejected her claim on the grounds that while the “respondent’s assistance [to the guerillas] may have been relatively minimal”, if she failed to do her tasks, “another person would have needed to.” In other words, by a two-to-one vote, the BIA ruled that Ana is ineligible to apply for asylum because she provided material support to a terrorist organization – a shocking decision.
The Terrorism Statute is Stretched Beyond Its Breaking Point
The statute that was used by the U.S. government to deny Ana asylum, in this case, was enacted as part of the Patriot Act of 2001. The situation demonstrates just how far the U.S. government is willing to go to stretch the law. A victim of a terrorist group — one who was forced to work for them and then fled in the middle of the night — is being denied immigration rights based on a law that is meant to punish terrorists. It is an infuriating perversion of justice.
Speak to Our California Deportation Lawyer Now
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our compassionate California immigration attorney has a strong record of success in defending deportation cases. We provide clients support through difficult times. To get immediate assistance with your case, call us today for a completely private consultation. We have a conveniently located law office in Los Angeles and we handle deportation cases throughout Southern California.