Many defenders support children and youth with their asylum processes without charging them a dollar.

Nolberto A.A., who arrived in the United States as an unaccompanied minor when he was 13 years old, is convinced that if he had not had access to a lawyer, he would not be a permanent resident today.

“Months after entering the country, my dad and I were desperate to pray for legal assistance. We had already talked to several lawyers, but they didn't want to take my case because they didn't see that I could succeed; another lawyer even tried to scam me, ”recalled Norberto, who is currently 19 years old, and asks that his identity and full name not be revealed, because his father still cannot obtain his residence.

It was through a search on the Internet where they found the site of the organization Children in Need of Defense (KIND), whose mission is to ensure that no minor is alone or alone before a migration court Without legal representation.

Through KIND, Nolberto got him in touch with the retired lawyer Linda Dakin-Grim who agreed to take his case without charging him, earned him asylum and permanent residence.

Many unaccompanied minors are deported for not having access to legal representation. (Getty Images)

“I was born in Guatemala 19 years ago. I entered the country as an unaccompanied minor in 2014 when I was 13 years old. Here I had my dad, my stepmother and two brothers under 10 and 12 that I didn't know, ”he explained.

He left Guatemala because of violence and persecution for religious reasons. “Where I live there are many Maras (gangs); they wanted me to sell drugs and they even threatened me with weapons. ”

After lawyer Dakin-Grim took his case, he obtained political asylum in 2015 and in 2016, he became a permanent resident.

"I am very grateful. With much joy. Asylum and residence were for me like an impossible dream. I came blindly when I left Guatemala, ”says Nolberto, who works in a fast-food restaurant, but dreams of going to college and studying for a psychologist.

Attorney Linda says that Nolberto is a wonderful boy, who won asylum in the United States mainly because he was subjected to religious persecution in his country.

"One of the bases of the laws of the United States and of the countries that are part of the United Nations, is to provide asylum to those who have experienced persecution for their faith," he says.

He says that the boy lived in Guatemala with his uncle, an evangelical pastor who could testify to the abuses suffered by the boy. "Another pastor who lives here in the country also testified."

The burden for unaccompanied minors is hard without anyone defending them in court. (Archive)

The defender says that it was not easy because they had to prove with credible evidence that Nolberto was a victim of persecution for his evangelical faith, which is an integral part of his life.

“We present a complete package with facts to comply with the asylum laws, and we win the case in a year,” says the lawyer happy for the results.

He thinks that under the current administration these types of cases are more difficult to win.

“Only for a case of an unaccompanied minor to be considered, the wait is for one year. They are not moving cases at all. Things are very slow for children, ”says Linda, who is not a lawyer in migration but specializes in lawsuits related to financial disputes, banks and companies are sure.

“From the time I retired, I had to learn about migration to help these children. I'm still working, but without pay, ”he says.

Most of the pro bono lawyers of the KIND organization are not immigration attorneys, but are eager to learn to represent minors, he explains.

This lawyer has represented at least 15 unaccompanied minors, and about ten separate families.

According to the KIND website, 60% of minors who arrive alone in the US have no one to represent them before a migration court.

They add that minors without legal representation are five or more likely to be deported.

They indicate that since 2014, more than 260,000 unaccompanied minors and refugees have entered the United States. They have come from three of the world's most dangerous countries: Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala.

"Through these children who have suffered persecution and experienced tremendous suffering, I have learned from the history of the United States, their involvement in Central America and the rest of the world in the last century," says the lawyer.

Linda Dakin-Grimm, the lawyer who helps unaccompanied minors without charge. (Courtesy).

During the 2020 Religious Education Congress of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles held this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, Linda will speak this Saturday from 3 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. about why people emigrate to United States, with and without documents. In addition, it will explain the immigration laws in this country and the complicated system that immigrants have to navigate.

Linda is a member of the Tri-Diocese Immigration Task Force (Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino), which has helped bring together many immigrant families, working together with the Kind organization.

“The work team of the Dioceses of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino has shared information resources on the rights of immigrants, and has supported families to connect them with immigration attorneys, housing, schools and other support for their adaptation to his new life in the United States, ”says Isaac Cuevas, director of Migration Affairs for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

There will be an immigration post during the Religious Education Congress with a map where you can see where the immigrants who emigrate to the United States come from. They may also send their prayers for immigrants. If you want to know more about the Religious Congress, visit:


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