WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

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28 Feb 2023 | News

WOLA and Temple Law School Present a New Series of Resources for Asylum Attorneys

Joint Project Compiles Information on Country of Origin Conditions including Children and Gangs, State Complicity, Internal Relocation, Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, and Gender

Temple University Beasley School of Law‘s Sheller Center for Social Justice and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) are publishing a new series of Annotated Table of Contents (ATOCs) for attorneys supporting asylum claims. Our ongoing asylum project provides expert research for attorneys to bolster their arguments about country conditions and fortify their client’s claims of dire need to seek protection in the United States. 

This new set of ATOCs are tailored to cases from El Salvador, Mexico, and Nicaragua. This includes children recruited by gangs in El Salvador and is being issued as the Bukele administration continues with its crackdown on gangs through a state of exception decree that has resulted in over 64,000 people imprisoned since March 2022 and massive human rights violations. The release of ATOCs on state complicity, internal relocation, and persecution due to gender in Mexico come at a time when there is a  high number of Mexicans attempting to seek protection in the United States, including many who have been blocked from doing so under Title 42 expulsions. Fiscal year 2022 also saw a dramatic increase in Nicaraguans seeking protection in the United States. As of January 2023, Nicaraguans are one of the nationalities that can request humanitarian parole in the United States and then also seek to adjust their status, including requesting asylum. New resources for Nicaragua include risks faced by human rights defenders and journalists and persecution based on gender, apart from existing resources on state complicity

As post-Title 42 policies are set to roll out in May, likely exacerbating restrictions on asylum, it remains critical that lawyers assisting asylum seekers have the tools and resources necessary to strengthen the cases of those who are already pursuing protection in the United States as well as the cases of new individuals who are able to access what will be an increasingly narrow path to asylum in the country. 

Past resources that supplement the series include children fleeing recruitment by gangs in Guatemala and Honduras; as well as the persecution of Indigenous peoples in Honduras and Guatemala; the high-risk situation of human rights defenders and journalists in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico; and the hazards of the Remain in Mexico program.

Other ATOC’s in the series also include the inability to internally relocate; extortion of small business owners; as well as gang recruitment, domestic violence and gender-based harms and persecution of members of LGBT+ community, and state complicity for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

To access these materials, please visit Temple Law’s Sheller Center for Social Justice’s password protected website and fill out this form to receive the password.