His life is now in the hands of the judge of the Van Nuys immigration court in Los Angeles.

When Carolina S. was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when the immigration agents realized that she was not a tourist in the country but working, she never imagined that the officers themselves, one step away from deporting her, would recommend requesting political asylum.

“Your dream is over, they told me after reading and checking all my emails and messages on the cell phone. I had been in the country for four months and I was working, ”he recalls.

‘I wish it was that, I told them. I will die there if they return me. ” The agents had discovered a photograph of Carolina on her cell phone where she appeared beaten.

“Is that why you came to the United States? Are you afraid? ”They asked me.

The agents had something that didn't fit. “I had to tell them the history of abuse and violence that I suffered from my boyfriend, a professional very connected to the spheres of power in Ecuador, ”he adds.

"I told them that after that and revealing their identity, I had put myself at a very great risk," he explains. “Can you ask for asylum? Do you have more evidence? The agents asked me. I told them so many. We are going to protect you, they told me; and they explained to me what asylum was. I had no idea. ”

Carolina S. reveals everything she lived in Ecuador that forced her to come to the United States. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Your departure from Ecuador

Fearful for her life, Carolina had escaped from Ecuador in March 2019. That same day she entered Los Angeles with her tourist visa. His two children from a previous relationship with the abusive boyfriend stayed in his country.

Months after entering the US, in the summer of last year he decided to travel to Mexico for a weekend to see if he could get his son a student exchange in the neighboring country, so that they could be closer.

He re-entered the country two days later. That day at the airport she was arrested by the Migration and Customs Service (ICE).

“They asked me what I was here doing four months after entering with my tourist visa. Vacationing, I replied. You are millionaire?”, The immigration officer asked me.

After almost eight hours of interrogation and telling them about the nightmare lived in Ecuador, ICE agents gave him a choice between deportation or political asylum.

“I was so tired, I told them that I preferred to return to my country. It was they who told me that I was not thinking clearly, and that they could not let me go because my life was at risk, ”he says.

Carolina S. spent six months in custody at the Adelanto Detention Center. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

The Unexpected: Advancement

What she never imagined is that she would be sent to the Advance Detention Center and would spend six months in custody. Entered into shock when, when she was taken from the airport, two officers handcuffed her.

"This is a prison. What am I getting into? Oh Jesus! I said"

Carolina tried to find the positive side to her experience in detention and stay busy. “I worked in the kitchen of the jail, I went to the bookstore, the Church,” he recalls.

She was subjected to two credible fear interviews. The second lasted five hours.

“I told them everything I had suffered, beatings, rapes and kidnapping by my boyfriend. Even twice he sent me to the hospital. ”

Carolina says that after separating from her husband, she became a girlfriend with the man who would later become her torturer.

“The violence began the last year of the relationship when I began to question him about things from his work that he didn't see well. We had ethical and moral differences, ”he says and underlines that his partner suffered from addictions.

Carolina S. left Adelanto on bail and with an electronic shackle to fight her asylum in freedom. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

With the foot in the neck

He hopes that many times he tried to leave him, but he had her threatened. “If I fall, you fall with me, he would tell me. He watched me 24 hours a day. It forced me to take sleeping pills. Many times I did not report out of shame. On one occasion I tried to kill myself, ”he says.

The drop that spilled the glass occurred one day that his 16-year-old son arrived at his house, and the man was beaten. The boy wanted to defend his mother, and the boyfriend attacked him with blows.

“That day I thought I was going to die. He only asked God not to hurt him so much. My boyfriend was beside himself, ”he says. His son managed to escape and ask for help. His mother and the police intervened, and his assailant managed to escape.

Carolina told her mother everything, told her she couldn't do it anymore, and made a plan to save her life that meant leaving the country.

“I thought about the United States because he doesn't have a tourist visa to come here. If I went to Mexico or Colombia, he could go for me. In those countries, Ecuadorians do not ask for a visa, ”he says.

He talked with his children and his family. "I prefer you to live far away, than dead mother," he recalls that his eldest son told him.

After 15 days of the incident, the boyfriend approached him, apologized and promised that everything would be different. “I accepted him and gave him his side. I knew that as long as I didn't question his work activities, I wouldn't have problems, ”he says.

However, Carolina next to his family and his best friends, was already preparing his escape to the United States.

“When he realized that I was not in the country, he wanted to go crazy. I will be honest with him on the phone, and I told him that I didn't want to see him again in my life. ”

But the man did not remain still, even at a distance, he began to threaten her and harass her psychologically. “I had made the mistake of asking him to help me with the case of alimony for my oldest son. He told me that if I did not do everything he asked for, he would take care that I lost custody of my son for having left him when I left the country. ”

Carolina S., yearns to be able to reunite with her children from whom she separated to save her life. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

The nightmare comes in the US

During the months prior to the ICE detention, the man controlled her at day and night distance by phone, wanting to know all her steps, and demanding directions, phones and photographs of where she lived, worked and where she went.

“The isolation I suffered in Adelanto made me heal my psychological wounds. I became stronger and more determined, ”he explains.

Carolina did not hear from the man again, but because of her family, she knows that she is processing her visa to come for her and take her back to Ecuador.

In Adelanto, after taking his case from a lawyer who only took thousands of dollars and did nothing for her, he found immigration lawyer Joan Del Valle who became his defender. "I discovered it when I saw the passion with which I defended another immigrant detained in the court of Adelanto."

On Thursday, January 23, exactly the day he turned six months in Adelanto, Carolina regained his freedom to fight his case of political asylum.

"The judge set me bail of $ 5,000 and they put an electronic shackle on my ankle," he adds.

Less than a week after being free, you don't get used to so much sunlight and street noise.

“Domestic violence is no longer a sufficient reason to request political asylum, but I was kidnapped, abducted, tortured. I hope that taking into account everything that I lived, they give me asylum to be able to reunite with my children. I don't conceive my life without them, ”says this young mother with a sad look.

Carolina S. has high hopes of obtaining political asylum in the US. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Many odds

Joan Del Valle, her immigration lawyer says that Carolina has a strong case, so she remains positive about her chances of winning political asylum.

"No person should go through what she suffered", Explain.

And as your asylum request case is going to be heard in the new immigration court of the Van Nuys community in Los Angeles, and it isn't too saturated, expect it to be resolved soon.

"These cases can be resolved in a month, or even in ten years," he emphasizes.


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