Fleeing threats to her children, a Honduran woman now faces a tough fight for asylum
Martin Garbus Published in the Los Angeles Times
I met with G, an asylum seeker from Honduras, in a large open space at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, last month. As a volunteer attorney working with immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it was my job to help her prepare for her initial asylum interview. First, though, I needed to hear her story.
The setting was not ideal, since anyone in the room could overhear what she said, including her two daughters, aged 10 and 12. She began hesitantly, describing how she had been raped by her father when she was 12. Her mother and six siblings, rather than being supportive, blamed G, whose full name I am not using because of her pending asylum claim, and her mother began beating her regularly. When she was 14, her father committed suicide, and the family held her responsible for his death.
In her neighborhood, everyone knew of her abuse history, G told me, and she was considered damaged goods, available to any man who wanted her at any time. She soon met an older man who said he loved her and, for two years she stuck with him. He was abusive, though, and she learned he was married.
As she sat across from me crying, recalling events she’d rather forget, I learned she was now 25 and had four children. As best as I could tell given the timeline, the two daughters sitting nearby had been fathered by her father. Since the girls had never heard these stories, G was ashamed and tried to minimize what she had been through. It took two hours of patient questioning to pull the full story out of her, and as she spoke, her daughters cried.
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Martin Garbus has a diverse practice that consists of individuals and companies involved in politics, media, entertainment, and the arts. His courtroom skills have earned him a distinguished reputation as a trial lawyer.
Mr. Garbus is experienced in every aspect of litigation and trial, from jury selection to cross-examination to summation. He has argued cases throughout the country involving constitutional, criminal, copyright, and intellectual property law. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts throughout the United States. He has argued and written briefs that have been submitted to the United States Supreme Court; a number of which have resulted in changes in the law on a nationwide basis, including one described by Justice William Brennan as “probably the most important due process case in the Twentieth Century”.
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