Adam’s fight against deportation
Adam wakes up feeling excited because today he doesn’t have to go to school. Instead he gets to spend the day with the person who loves him and offers him protection, his aunt. As they drive through downtown Denver, he stares at the busy streets and tall buildings. They arrive at one of the buildings and he sees Sulma, a woman he knows only as his lawyer. He doesn’t fully understand what a lawyer is or why they are at this building (but he does love the elevator ride). Sulma explains that he will have to put headphones on so he can hear the interpreter talking, and answer some questions. He is suddenly filled with anxiety and asks, “Are you going up there with me?” Both his attorney and his aunt comfort him with a strong, “Yes, of course!” Adam is only eight years old, fighting a case against deportation, and is attending a hearing in front of a federal judge.
In his eight years of life, Adam has experienced more pain and struggle than most people do their entire life. At the age of five, his parents made him work in the fields of Honduras. He was subjected to beatings, at times so severe that his parents wouldn’t let him go outside or to school so people wouldn’t see his bruises.
The physical abuse was not the only type of abuse Adam suffered. After Adam’s younger brother passed away, his father would often torment him, saying “I wish you were dead instead of your brother.” To further the emotional trauma, his father would often lock him in a room for hours. Although the bruises have healed, his father’s words and actions will continue to haunt his young heart for years to come.
Adam’s father brought him to the United States when he was seven years old. After the long journey, the abuse continued. Finally, belt marks were found on Adam by a teacher which led to Adam’s father being arrested for child abuse and eventually deported. Adam was left behind, confused and terrified, facing deportation as well.
Luckily, Adam does not have to face the difficulties of the legal system alone. His aunt sought JAMLAC’s legal help and now JAMLAC is walking beside him through the legal process. If only you could have seen the joy of Adam’s face after court! The immigration court granted a 2-year extension and he is now waiting on a decision for his Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) visa. It is because of YOU, our supporters, that JAMLAC’s immigration attorney, Sulma Mendoza, is able to provide free full legal representation to Adam, a most deserving child.
Adam is still afraid of closed doors; so, his aunt removed all doors in their house to reassure him he wouldn’t be locked in a room again. This is a long journey; however, Adam is now embraced and protected by his aunt, who gained legal guardianship. She is taking great care of him and hopes to adopt him as soon as possible. Adam now goes to school regularly and is thriving. He joined a soccer and baseball league. This young boy is literally getting his childhood back because of you.
Every day children find themselves alone fighting deportation without an attorney. These children are required to attend court hearings and defend themselves against being deported to their native country, which they fled due to extreme violence and poverty. This is unconscionable. These children who suffer abuse, abandonment, or neglect are hoping an attorney will be available to represent them. We want to say, “Yes, we will represent you and walk beside you on your journey to seek justice.”