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Vice President of Government Relations, Greater Washington Board of Trade

Daniel Flores is vice president of government relations for the Greater Washington Board of Trade. He is the chief lobbyist representing the organization in MD, DC, VA and Capitol Hill. He has been with the organization for nearly nine years. Flores held other leadership positions, including president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; executive director of The Latino Student Fund, senior director of outreach for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and chief of staff of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission during the Anthony Williams Administration.

Mr. Flores is active in the community and serves on a number of boards including the Girls Scouts Council of the National Capital Area and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He previously served on the board of the following organizations: Holy Cross Hospital Foundation, Holy Cross Health, Community Advisory Board of NBC4, Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs – State of Maryland, and Maryland Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

Host, Washington Journal, C-SPAN

Steven L. Scully is a senior executive producer and political editor for the C-SPAN television network. He is also a host of its regular Sunday morning call-in show, Washington Journal, a live three-hour news and public affairs program.

Scully joined C-SPAN in 1990 as political editor and White House producer. Since 1991, he has been responsible for coordinating campaign programming for C-SPAN, C-SPAN.org and C-SPAN Radio. As senior producer for the network’s White House coverage, Scully manages a team of field producers responsible for coverage of the White House, politics and special projects. In addition to Washington Journal, he is a host and moderator for a number of other C-SPAN programs, including Newsmakers, Road to the White House and In Depth on Book TV. In addition to his television work, he regularly appears on C-SPAN Radio’s Washington Today, a live two-hour afternoon drive time program broadcast nationwide on Sirius XM Radio. Scully served as president of the White House Correspondents’ Association from 2006 to 2007.

On January 15, 2015, he held his most recently interview yet on immigration with Seung Min Kim, assistant editor for Politico, specifically regarding legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House in response to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Women posing next to a tree

Isabel and Ernesto, a young couple, first came to Ayuda when Isabel’s high school English teacher, Audrey, noticed a four-year gap in Isabel’s studies. Audrey asked Isabel about it. When Audrey heard Isabel’s story, she immediately knew that Ayuda could help.

“When Isabel first came in for a consultation, she was extremely concerned about talking to someone about her status,” said Rebecca, staff attorney at Ayuda. “We explained that everything would be confidential. From there, the hardest part for Isabel was talking about what happened during those years when she was a victim of human trafficking.”

When Isabel was eleven, she’d been living without her parents for a year. They both died.

Her brother was 25 years old, married, and living in the U.S. He found Isabel and promised her a beautiful life with him and his wife. He told her she could go to school. He told her life would be better. Her imagination would not let go of images of the better times to come.

Her brother arranged for her travel to the U.S. She was smuggled in by men who charge for such a service. When she arrived, however, she was not welcomed to her new home with an embrace from a loving brother. Instead, she was put to work in the house.

For three years she cooked and cleaned and cared for her toddler cousin. She was never given a chance to see the inside of a classroom. At fourteen, she was put to work in a clothing factory and saw her wages go into her brother’s pockets.

Years of servitude passed and no one noticed—so she thought. Someone did notice though. Ernesto would stop by the house at times to visit with Isabel’s brother. Ernesto noticed that she did not smile—that she did not laugh.

Eventually, she noticed him too. She learned to trust him and shared her story. There can be love in sadness, and they had found it in each other. They fled to Virginia together. They were followed by threats from her brother and other men who do such things. They were serious threats.

Isabel and Ernesto, scared and in love, became parents to a beautiful baby girl. Unlike Isabel and Ernesto, who arrived in the U.S. as children without proper documentation, their daughter was born a U.S. citizen. But with a language barrier, little education, and immigration issues, the couple was unsure of their next move. It was during these trying times that Audrey heard Isabel’s story and contacted us to help.

Our attorneys helped Isabel successfully apply for a T visa. Isabel’s trafficking was reported to a detective who assisted in exposing conditions at the factory where Isabel had worked, preventing future incidents of coerced or forced labor.

Our social workers helped the couple pay their rent and buy clothes for their, now, two kids. Ernesto had a deportation order from when he was a child. That order was reopened and terminated. They no longer had to live with the constant fear that they would be swiftly separated someday.


“I don’t have to worry anymore. Now, all I have to do is work hard and think about my family.”

Ernesto was working so hard that he needed two jobs to contain his enthusiasm. At night, he cared for the two young children. Isabel couldn’t do it. Nighttime was time for her studies.

“I want to be a police officer, because they help people.”

Eventually, as they kept gaining more control of their lives, the couple was able to marry. Isabel wore a long, flowing dress and they celebrated with champagne, a few friends, and the kids.

Soon Isabell and her family will be able to travel back to El Salvador to visit Ernesto’s mother, who has yet to meet her two grandchildren. Maybe then Isabel will again know the feeling of family where it was once taken from her.

Thank you, Isabel, for allowing us to share your story. And a special thank you to Quinnie Lin, Ayuda volunteer, for putting Isabel’s story into words. Isabel’s story is a true Ayuda success story; however, names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Girl smiling

Janna is a very talkative, energetic, and confident kid—imagine your typical eleven year old.

When I met Janna, she told me that she had recently joined the 100-mile club at her elementary school.

“But don’t worry,” she said. “We don’t run one hundred miles all at once. It takes lots of hard work and I just started, but by the end of the year, I’ll get it done.”

Then, in an instant, she went silent. Her mother’s sudden, softly spoken Arabic then filled the room as she explained Janna’s story.

Janna’s estranged father had entered the U.S. on a tourist visa from Egypt, bent on kidnapping Janna. He broke into the family’s home and attacked Janna’s mother, demanding Janna’s return to Egypt. His future plans for Janna included female genital mutilation (a practice still found in parts of Egypt). The whole incident was terrifying. Fortunately, Janna was in school when he showed up at their house.

Janna snapped back to the conversation, “I would not recognize him if I saw him. I only knew him when I was a baby in Egypt. I don’t understand why he thinks he needs to come get me all of a sudden.”

Fearing for Janna’s safety, Janna’s mother sought help. Ayuda provided legal services, which would later result in a protective order and full custody of Janna. With their case won, Janna’s mind moved on to ice cream—the perfect celebratory accompaniment.

Last February, I met with Janna to help with her final step to total liberation from her past: the green card application. She was happily anticipating the interview with the immigration officer.

“I can’t wait to tell them about all the clubs and school activities I’m in—especially the step team,” she gushed.

Janna’s mother began to cry. Janna seemed embarrassed.

“My mom wants me to tell you how happy and how thankful she is for Ayuda and all the work you have done to help us,” she said. She paused for a second.

“And I want to tell you that too.”

Here’s to a bright, happy future, Janna. Go get ’em!

Thank you, Janna, for allowing us to share your story. And a special thank you to Rebecca Walters, Ayuda volunteer, for putting Janna’s story into words. Janna’s story is a true Ayuda success story; however, names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

A family of 5

As a single mother with a full-time job and four children, how Eva Knight finds the time to study English, participate in her church community, and volunteer for a domestic violence support group, is a tribute to a person’s indomitable spirit. If anything, Eva’s past serves as a reminder of just how determined that spirit is.

Years before, in Honduras, Eva’s husband physically hurt her. Over and over again. Her local police department failed to protect her. The abuse had to stop. She could leave him, she thought, but what about the children? At that time she had three children and loved them deeply. In 2007, however, Eva found the strength and a way to move forward with her kids, and away from him. But it would mean separating, not only from her abusive husband, but from her children, too. She arranged for them to stay with their grandma in Honduras. She fled to the U.S.

Weekly phone calls did little to help the hurt of a mother and her children separated from one another. But hearing their voices on the end of the phone triggered Eva to seek help from Ayuda in 2010.

Ayuda helped Eva obtain a U visa, through her cooperation with the investigation and prosecution of her husband. After that, Ayuda teamed with Eva on a petition to bring her children to the U.S.

We were honored to watch the joyful, and tearful, reunion between Eva, Cristian, Hector, and Eva Gissela. It was a huddled entanglement of hugs, tears, and laughter—the kind of moment that gives form to the feeling of love and belonging.

While in the U.S., Eva was blessed with the birth of her fourth child, Karoline. Karoline was born with a heart defect, a dangerous condition called aortic coarctation. The condition has put little Karoline on the operating table twice for major surgeries. Today, Eva takes Karoline to specialists to monitor her heart and to ensure a continued response to treatment. Many of the specialists have told Eva that if Karoline had been born in Honduras or had to live there, she most likely would not be alive today.

Cristian is now 17 years old and doing well in his high school classes. Hector is 15 and enjoys listening to music on his MP3 player. Eva Gissela is an 11-year-old who loves ballet and equally enjoys Honduran folkloric dances, the kind that show traditional costumes. Karoline, the nimble 2-year-old, is a bundle of energy, constantly running around and exploring, with her mother or one of her older siblings chasing after her and the Dora backpack she stubbornly drags along everywhere.

All of them now speak fluent English, have American friends, and seem completely at ease in the Fairfax County school system.

We are now assisting with the children’s application for their green cards. They are excited at the thought of attending college and applying for U.S. citizenship in the future, a model provided by their mother.

The children stood proudly next to their mother when Eva finally received her green card last December. “Congratulations, Mom,” young Eva Gissela beamed.

Despite their heavily scheduled days, the whole family paid us a visit in December, bringing three beautiful rhododendrons, holiday cards, and heartfelt gratitude to Ayuda staff. Seeing the family walk in together was thanks enough.

Thank you, Eva, for allowing us to share your story. And a special thank you to Rebecca Walters, Ayuda volunteer, for putting Eva’s story into words. Eva’s story is a true Ayuda success story; however, names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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