Cases & Deals

Salvadoran woman and son obtain asylum due to persecution by MS-13 gang

Clients G

Jones Day has secured asylum for client G and her minor son, who were threatened by gang members due to their relationship to a police officer.

Client G lived in an area of El Salvador controlled by the MS-13 gang. Gang members were frequently posted outside their house to keep an eye on the neighborhood, and the gang used the alley adjoining her property both as a hangout and to access the more remote areas just outside town. G's brother, a member of a special anti-gang police unit, would visit her at home once or twice a month.

During a period of violent conflict in the neighborhood sparked by the gang's murder of another anti-gang officer, MS-13 discovered that G's brother worked for the police. They first threatened G's husband, telling him that they didn't want to see G's brother in the neighborhood again. A short while later, two gang members stopped G and her sister-in-law as they were returning home from the market. They told her that they knew her brother was a cop, that they thought she had been snitching, and that if she and her family didn't leave, that G "knew what would happen." She did know: the gang routinely murdered, tortured, or disappeared people they thought were working with or related to the police. After a futile attempt to report the threats to Salvadoran authorities, who offered no protection, G, her son, and a few other family members fled to the United States, calling 911 to turn themselves in after crossing the Rio Grande.

Jones Day diligently worked to prepare the case for argument, submitting a legal brief and extensive supporting materials demonstrating the dangerous conditions in El Salvador and the particular threat that gangs pose to those related to or suspected of working with police officers. G delivered powerful testimony at the hearing, leading the immigration judge to find her credible. Ultimately, the court found that G and her son had been persecuted due to their family ties to G's brother. On January 15, 2020, G and her son were both granted asylum.