Over the course of several months, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Philip Torrey, along with HLS students Sima Atri ’15 and Brittany Llewellyn ’15 represented an indigenous woman from Guatemala fleeing from gang violence and seeking asylum in the Untied States. After hundreds of hours of interviewing the client, researching country conditions in Guatemala, gathering corroborating documentation, and presenting an argument in court the client was finally granted asylum this past February. As an indigenous woman who supported equal rights for women, she and her family were targeted by a violent gang leaving her with no choice but to flee Guatemala.
Ana, whose name has been changed for confidentiality reasons, came to the United States after she was sexually assaulted by a gang affiliated with the notorious MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha, one of the most violent gangs in the world. Known for their unrelenting retribution and punishment, MS-13 originated in California and has since become a transnational criminal organization. Gangs like MS-13 have been repeatedly cited as the most prevalent push factor forcing people out of Central America.
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