“Hector”, a father of three, has been sitting in a detention cell in Adelanto since early May, nervously evaluating his options to remain in this country legally. Hector has been in the United States since 1981, when his family fled El Salvador in the midst of a civil war that was gripping the country. His middle-class family had close ties to the government at the time and feared persecution, so they fled to the US when Hector was still a child. They were detained in Mexicali, where his family was granted political asylum. His family hired an attorney and applied for amnesty a few years later, but because he had already turned 18, he was unknowingly left out of the petition. His family cycled through three dishonest attorneys, who continued to take his family’s money while making empty promises to get him residency. Hector has only had access to a work permit while he filed for residency, which he has had to renew annually.
Hector has a few options to try to remain in the United States legally, which include a U-visa, political asylum, and VAWA. Hector believes he may qualify for a U-visa, which applies to those who were victims of a violent crime in the United States. In 1989, someone broke into his home late at night, and Hector managed to apprehend the perpetrator. He underwent a few injuries at the time, and was able to testify against the suspect and see him get convicted. He also believes he may have a case for political asylum, due to his family’s history in El Salvador. Hector also qualifies for VAWA relief, which applies to victims of domestic violence. Hector was married for 21 years and suffered constant abuse from his ex-wife, who was arrested three times and convicted once.
Hector has three kids, all citizens, ranging in ages from 9 to 25 years old. He has a one-year old grandson who he has unfortunately only met once due to his detention. Hector has been especially desperate to get out of Adelanto as soon as possible to be with his daughter, who is going off to college this fall. He is extremely proud of her and wants to be there for her during this important period of her life. He tells us that he always wanted to reward his daughter’s good grades and promising future by traveling the country with her if she went to college; he’s now frustrated that he’s had to break his promise to her. During his stay in Adelanto, he has already lost his business, an auto-shop, and his life savings are quickly depleting. He hopes that he’ll be released to his family as soon as possible, as he is eager to get his life back on track. Although he understands the difficulties many detainees face trying to readjust to life outside of detention, he hopes to be given the chance to reunite with his family.