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July 29, 2014
The news has been awash in stories about the wave of unaccompanied minors making the harrowing trek to the U.S./Mexico border. Recently, Ayuda had the opportunity to sit down with some of the minors we’ve represented and heard their stories. These stories represent a fundamental part of what we do and why we do it – the stories of trial and triumph embody our mission to empower the lives of immigrants in our community, like Elena and Alejandra.
May 15, 2014
At the young age of ten, Meliza was orphaned in El Salvador after her mother committed suicide. Meliza’s brother invited her to come to the United States to live with him and his wife, promising that she would go to school and be loved, protected and cared for. At the age of eleven, Meliza was trafficked into the United States by her brother, who proceeded to hold her in his house against her will for four years while stealing her money and denying her sufficient food, clothing or sufficient care. In February 2014, through the work of Ayuda, Meliza successfully obtained a T nonimmigrant visa.
May 9, 2014
At age 11, Isabel made the harrowing journey to the United States from El Salvador. She became the victim of human trafficking for four years before a young man named Ernesto helped her escape. Read more about Isabel’s story and Ayuda’s role in preventing this loving couple from being separated.
February 12, 2014
Maria is all too familiar of what it is like to have to hide part of your identity.
December 11, 2013
Mario Bezzini is a Guardian ad Litem, a person appointed by a judge to look out for the best interests of children in juvenile courts. He was appointed to investigate Ayuda's client Eimy's family situation as we represented her. Click through to read his whole story.
November 18, 2013
What would you do if you were in danger of being sent away from the only home you ever knew? If you are like Eimy, you come to Ayuda. Click through to read her whole story.
October 4, 2013
"I started crying when I heard about deferred action, I knew something was going to happen," 24-year-old mother Karen exclaimed, "It has been over 13 years and my mom had prayed for it for so long." Click through to read more.
July 23, 2013
Quite a lot can change in six years. In that time a man can be transformed from a scared kid into a loving father. A mother, who left her child as a 10-year-old in order to provide him with a better life, can reunite with her son as a teenager and later know the joy of being a grandmother. In 2008, Mario was a frightened, injured teenager caught at the US-Mexican Border hoping to be reunited with his mother Edith who lived in Virginia. Since the moment he arrived in this country, Mario has been fighting for his case to stay. He knows the best hope for his and his family?s safety and future is here.
May 28, 2013
All thanks to your generous support! Cristobal,* 36, and his younger brother Edgardo,* 12, are from El Salvador. Cristobal, a devout Christian, worked in his home country to help young people turn away from the violent lifestyle of gangs. Unfortunately, this made him a target for the leaders of the gangs, and on many occasions Cristobal feared for his life.
January 28, 2013
Elsa* overcame abuse to become a leader and mentor to other women. Click through to read her story.
December 21, 2012
From neglected son forced to work in a factory to star student with a new family, Josue has come a long way. Read his story here.
December 12, 2012
Nine-year-old Jorge* is a ball of energy, a big bear hug waiting to happen. He is also one of the most caring youngsters his attorneys have ever seen. Uncharacteristic for his age, Jorge watches out for his mother, constantly checking on her to make sure she's not thirsty or hungry. He knows what it is like to be both. READ MORE
December 6, 2012
Danny, 31, and Romel, 26, consider themselves to be brothers, not just friends. Hailing from the Philippines, the pair didn't even know each other when they started legally working in the United States at a hotel in 2007. Their bond was cemented when they found they had become victims of human trafficking after getting involved with an unscrupulous job recruiter. After such hardships they decided to fight back and found Ayuda to be a trusted resource to help them obtain their T visas, for survivors of trafficking. READ THE FULL STORY
November 21, 2012
Determined to make a safe home for her children, Leticia bravely faced her worst nightmare when she found out her partner had sexually abused her daughters. She turned to Ayuda to gain sole custody of her children to keep them shielded from the man who had hurt them. Read her full story.
November 1, 2012
Jessica is a 15 year old student at a local high school, originally from Mexico. She and her mother are Ayuda clients. A dedicated student, she dreams of going to college and one day becoming an immigration lawyer. As a generous volunteer, Jessica works with kids with learning disabilities and volunteers at Ayuda by helping out with childcare for clients. Jessica is passionate about immigrants' rights and wants to make a difference. (click the title to read more)
September 18, 2012
Ayuda has seen hundreds of young people who President Obama described as "American in their heart and in their minds in every way but one, on paper," in the weeks since official guidelines were released on the Obama Administration's new policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Franny is one of these amazing youth who can now come out of the shadows and apply for work permits. (Click to read more in this new series)
July 2, 2012

Ayuda is conducting a research project to collect information on fraudulent and deceitful services provided by unscrupulous notarios and immigration consultants in the Washington, DC metro area. Notarios, notarios publicos, and immigration consultants are not attorneys or accredited representatives in the US, and consequently, are not licensed to provide immigration legal services.

If you feel you were defrauded or deceived by a notario or immigration consultant and are interested in participating in a brief survey about your experience, please contact For more information, please see the Ayuda project flyer here.

May 17, 2012

Hope is defined as "the feeling that events will turn out for the best." At Ayuda, we are very familiar with this concept.

Gabriel (not real name) is one of those people that came to Ayuda in search of hope. After suffering a lifetime of discrimination and abuse based on his sexual orientation, Gabriel left his native Guatemala in search of safety and the opportunity to achieve his dreams in the U.S. However, his dreams turned into nightmares. The family members he sought support and guidance from promptly turned their backs on Gabriel. They kicked him out of his house and forced him to live in the streets for one simple reason: he was gay. Eventually, after much struggle, Gabriel got back on his feet and found a support network with local organizations that serve the LGBT community. Through these channels, Gabriel learned that, because of his sexual orientation and history of suffered abuse, he could qualify for permanent asylum in the U.S. Fearing deportation to a country where he faced further abuse, Gabriel began seeking legal representation that would help his life turn out for the best.

April 19, 2012

Farid (not his real name) and his family, mother and father and two sisters came to the United States. Farid was 11 at the time. Farid's family came to the US from East Africa where they were extremely poor and lived in the dangerous outskirts of a large city. Farid's family came seeking economic opportunity, education, safety and a place to call home.

However, after still facing extreme poverty as they moved around Canada and the US Farid's mother and father returned to Eastern Africa leaving Farid and his two sisters behind with a relative...

January 4, 2012

Often times during the holiday season we generously donate to food and toy drives to benefit children of domestic violence survivors and low-income families. However, we sometimes forget their nurturing mothers, who rarely ask for anything during the holiday season, as they often struggle to find ways to provide for their children so they can enjoy the magic of this time of year without the fear of violence. However, last December 15th, 2011, Mary Kay wanted to ensure that some of the many brave women who experience so much senseless violence and suffering are able to truly have a day for themselves. Mary Kay provided 30 female domestic violence survivors the opportunity to be pampered for an afternoon. This event gave the brave clients of Ayuda and My Sister's Place an afternoon dedicated solely to them.

The participants were picked up from Ayuda and My Sister's Place in limousines and taken to The Liaison Capitol Hill. Once there, the excited participants received various packages, gift cards, lunch and were even serenaded! 5 participants...

December 12, 2011

While you are enjoying your Holiday Season be sure not to forget those who most need your help like "Elena" (not her real name). Elena was a 50 year old woman from Honduras. She was coming to the US to visit a man she loved. Sadly, her dreams were dashed upon by deceit by the man she thought was going to make her dreams come true. Upon arriving to the U.S., Elena was turned into a prisoner...

September 9, 2011

"Fransica" is a 23 year old from El Salvador who came to Ayuda during our weekly walk-in consultation hours to see whether she qualified for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a temporary status that provides short-term protection from deportation as well as employment authorization. As a result of her consultation with a paralegal, Ayuda determined she was not eligible for TPS, but...

August 22, 2011

Carolina fled Honduras in 2008 with her two young children, Jorge and Marta, to escape her abusive husband. For more than four and a half years, Carolina suffered at the hands of her husband, who beat, strangled, stalked, and raped her...

January 21, 2011

"Glenda" is a Guatemalan woman who first came to Ayuda in the mid '90s. She found herself in an abusive marriage and had fled her home country because she feared for her life. Ayuda assisted her in winning asylum as an abused woman--a rather difficult feat at that time. Ayuda later assisted her in petitioning for her children and obtaining permanent residence for herself.

This summer, Glenda completed five years of being a permanent resident, which is the necessary time needed to apply for US citizenship. Ayuda assisted her in preparing her application and it is currently pending. We are hopeful that she will be granted US citizenship. If that happens, it will bring to a close a more than ten-year odyssey through the US immigration system with the assistance of Ayuda.

July 23, 2010

Daeng was brought to the US by the lure of economic opportunity. He had been offered an appealing agricultural job that promised to pay him significantly more than he could hope to make at home in Thailand. He incurred a significant amount of debt to pay for the arrangements, however he left home for the US optimistic.

When he arrived to start his new "job" however, it turned out to be far different than promised. Daeng's passport was immediately confiscated and his access to the outside world was cut off, leaving him completely isolated...

February 1, 2010
At 32, Martina came to the United States on a tourist visa and met Alfonso. On the eve of Martina's departure, Alfonso proposed, and Martina happily accepted. Soon after the wedding, however, Alfonso became controlling...
January 1, 2010
Ben is a Baptist Christian from Chin state in Burma, where the government has limited tolerance for religious freedom and harsh restrictions abound. While participating in a worship service in a remote area, Ben was arrested for distributing Bibles written in his native dialect - a crime that carries a seven year sentence in a hard labor camp...
January 1, 2010
Until the age of ten, Enrique and his siblings lived with his parents in a small house in Guatemala City. Enriques alcoholic, drug-abusing father would come home and beat each of the children with tree branches, electrical cords, or whatever other weapon he could find. Twice he forced them to pile all of their belongings in front of the house, and he set fire to the pile. The second time, the house caught on fire, leaving them homeless...
January 1, 2010
Arturo is a 23-year old Mexican man who came to the Washington, DC area to join his older brother, Juan Carlos, after many years of separation. Just two weeks after he arrived in the area, Arturo and Juan Carlos were held up at gunpoint, assaulted and robbed. As the robbers fled the scene, one of them fired his gun several times...
January 1, 2010
Fatima, a bright young woman from Pakistan, first came to the United States at the age of eighteen to pursue an undergraduate degree. During her freshman year of college, Fatima fell in love with an American classmate and the two dated for several years. In the summer after her junior year, Fatima went to Pakistan for a short vacation; while she was there her parents told her that they had arranged for her to marry a male stranger twice her age. Before the summer was over, Fatima and this man were wed...
January 1, 2010
Tanya, a 24-year-old woman from India, came to the United States to work as a housekeeper for a family in Maryland. She was eager to earn money and support her family back home. She never suspected that her arrival in the US would mark the beginning of a living nightmare for her...