"Juan Manuel was viciously attacked in the street. A car intercepted him and his friend, and the officers from the vehicle, who wore ski masks and military uniforms, assaulted him and threatened to end his life."

In the fall of 2018, Juan Manuel presented himself at the U.S. Port of Entry in San Ysidro and requested asylum. While his request was processed, Juan Manuel was detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where he learned about Casa Cornelia Law Center and applied for legal representation. Under the guidance of Senior Litigation Attorney Arwa Kakavand, one of Casa Cornelia’s dedicated Volunteer Attorneys took Juan Manuel’s case and applied for asylum before the Immigration Court, arguing political persecution on his behalf. Juan Manuel’s application was successfully granted without appeal. Juan Manuel is now waiting for a work permit so he can be independent and live safely in the U.S. 


Casa Cornelia Law Center is incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of this case. Through your leadership and dedication, you are changing lives!





* Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Juan Manuel’s Political Asylum: Granted

By Rosa Mitsumasu Scotti, Development Manager

Juan Manuel* is a citizen of a Central American country who was recently granted political asylum in the U.S. He escaped violence and persecution for supporting democratic initiatives against the government. Juan Manuel was physically harmed, threatened, and almost killed after campaigning against the opposition.

For years, Juan Manuel* had supported democratic initiatives in his Central American country. As an activist, volunteer and democracy advocate, Juan Manuel trained individuals to work at electoral tables, mobilized people to rally for candidates, and participated in peaceful protests in support of the opposition. After the country’s controversial presidential election in December of 2017, Juan Manuel was viciously attacked in the street. A car intercepted him and his friend, and the officers from the vehicle, who wore ski masks and military uniforms, assaulted him and threatened to end his life. Luckily, after fighting and struggling, Juan Manuel was able to escape.


The threats and attacks happened again a few days later. This time, Juan Manual heard shots and barely dodged them as he ran among tear gas and chaos. He did not know where to turn, but with the support of his pastor and congressperson, Juan Manuel left his country in early 2018. Everything happened so suddenly that he did not have a chance to say good-bye to his children or even quit his job. He fled to Guatemala and then to Tapachula in Mexico. The Mexican government granted him a humanitarian visa for six months, and he then travelled by bus to Tijuana, where he stayed in a shelter patiently waiting and hoping that he was able to present himself at the U.S. border.