After receiving news of a victory in her case, Libia shared her reflections about navigating the immigration system: “I used to have a deportation order but ASAP took that away. It is a beautiful experience working with ASAP. They take time to understand me and listen to my story. When I found out about my deportation order, my friend told me to join an online community center to ask for help. I thought that I would just get an answer to my question, but I had no idea how much ASAP would fight for my case. I had tried asking for help at other non-profits but they told me they couldn’t take my case. When I posted on the group, the attorney Liz insisted that they would help me find someone. More people told me they couldn’t help me and this made me feel like I had lost everything I did to get here. When they couldn’t find anyone, ASAP took my case. I thought I would be left on my own, and I don’t know how to explain in words what it feels like to have ASAP. They didn’t leave me on my own. They have helped me so much”.
Libia escaped death at the hands of her husband in El Salvador. When Libia and her husband began dating, he kicked her so hard that she lost their first child. Shortly after they married, her husband joined MS-13 and only became more violent. He sexually abused her and physically abused her and her daughter. On multiple occasions he strangled Libia and told her that he was going to kill her. Ultimately Libia felt the only way to save her and her daughter’s life was to flee El Salvador.
Even after fleeing El Salvador, finding safety and stability was difficult for Libia and her daughter. Upon arriving in the United States, Libia fell prey to the co-worker of a friend, David, who agreed to sponsor her for release from detention. David gave Libia an incorrect address to list as her residence and refused to provide Libia with his actual address so she could update immigration officials. He told her that she would only make matters worse by updating this information. Because David was her sponsor, Libia was fearful that if he became angry with her, he would retaliate by harming her case or getting her deported.
After two months of living with David, Libia moved to live with her friend, though David insisted Libia keep the same address. After visiting a non-profit organization to get help, Libia learned that she had received an in absentia removal order for missing a hearing she had never received notice of. Libia immediately contacted David to get an explanation, and he stated that he never received a notice for her hearing. In an attempt to take advantage of Libia’s desperation, David said that she should marry him to obtain status in the United States. Libia refused and tried to keep fighting for her case on her own.
After a long search, Libia was able to connect with the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) through our online community. ASAP took on her case and recently helped Libia win her motion to reopen her asylum case. Libia can now continue fighting for an opportunity to live in the United States with her daughter free of violence and with hope for a better future.