Isabella* is a 31 year old woman who always knew she was gay, even when she was a little girl. In her home country of Honduras, however, LGBT individuals are routinely physically and sexually abused, tortured, and persecuted. It wasn’t until coming to the United States as a young adult, fleeing violence in Honduras, that Isabella felt safe enough to publicly admit that she is gay. Now facing immigration detention and removal proceedings, Isabella seeks pro bono counsel to help her seek protection in the United States in the form of asylum.
Isabella endured a lifetime of violence while living in Honduras. Raised by her grandparents, she suffered beatings and other physical abuse as a little girl. In an attempt to fit in and escape the abuse at home, Isabella became involved with a boy and was not only abused by him, but his friends as well. When her boyfriend was murdered in Honduras, Isabella fled for her life.
Isabella entered the United States without status in 2005 and began working as a cleaner. Since coming to the United States she has had several relationships with women and has been getting used to the idea of “coming out.” Isabella is supported in the United States by a community of friends who are aware of her sexual orientation. These friends describe Isabella as hardworking, noble, and always helping others.
Isabella now faces immigration detention and removal proceedings stemming from an argument with an ex-girlfriend. Isabella describes that this was a mutual fight, but her ex-girlfriend called the police and pressed charges. Isabella pled guilty to the offense of misdemeanor second degree assault and served less than one month in jail. Pursuant to recent Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decisions, this offense does not constitute a bar to asylum eligibility.
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