Achieving Asylum: Rosa’s Story

Immigration Law and Justice New York

On October 3rd, a client from Honduras was granted asylum, along with her three children. Rosa is Garifuna, an Afro-indigenous community who originally lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. Rosa was treated badly because of the color of her skin, the way she wore her hair, and the types of clothes she wore. She suffered, even at home – her stepfather would put her food on the floor and force her to eat it, treating her like a dog.

Rosa came to the US with her three children in search of a better quality life, one without danger and discrimination. At first, life in the US was difficult: “There are different customs, and everything is done differently,” Rosa explains, “I had to find work without papers and take care of my children.” Because she faced race-based persecution in Honduras, Rosa was eligible to apply for asylum in the United States.

Rosa attended an initial hearing, and told the judge she was looking for a lawyer. Catholic Charities helped her file her initial application before the one-year deadline, however, she still needed representation in removal proceedings. She asked around and was given NY JFON’s number. “I called, and they answered, thank god,” she recalls.

To obtain asylum, one must prove fear of persecution or harm in one’s home country. This requires many supporting documents. Samantha Blecher, our Senior Staff Attorney, submitted affidavits from Rosa and her family members, an expert witness statement, a letter from a therapist, photographs proving injuries and her Garifuna identity, and extensive reports documenting conditions within Honduras.

Thankfully, Rosa and her children were granted asylum in September 2022. “I was very happy. I gave my attorney a big hug. I wanted to shout for joy but I was in the courtroom.” Rosa describes Samantha as “very patient” and is “thankful that they are such good people who were able to help me.” As asylees, Rosa and her children are eligible to apply for green cards in one year. Rosa can also petition to adjust the status of her husband.

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