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Maycoll and Stephanie Mendoza fled to the U.S. in 2012, escaping a multitude of horrors in their native Honduras. This resilient brother and sister pair journeyed through Guatemala and Mexico mostly alone, two pre-teen children, seeking refuge in the United States. Immigration authorities apprehended Maycoll and Stephanie at the Texas border, and there began their struggle to win asylum in the United States.

The harm Maycoll and Stephanie suffered in Honduras over the years was vast, including attempted recruitment by gang members when they resided in the cities of Honduras and attempted recruitment by narco-traffickers when they resided in the remote Mosquito Coast of Honduras. The children also suffered additional forms of unthinkable harm that ultimately led to their grant of asylum.

Maycoll and Stephanie’s case was presented before the Immigration Judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and USCIS before they were granted asylum. Throughout the initial setbacks in their case, the children and their family never lost the courage to persevere. They have long been outspoken advocates with the local New Orleans Worker’s Center for Racial Justice / Congress of Day Laborers. Maycoll and Stephanie appeared together with their family in a New Orleans Advocate article addressing the tougher immigration enforcement policies implemented shortly after Trump’s election. Maycoll bravely spoke to the national media for an NPR All Things Considered story featuring his family’s situation in the era of Trump enforcement.

As for the future, Maycoll recently graduated from high school and is currently enrolled as a college student at the University of New Orleans (UNO). Stephanie is a junior in high school, with plans to study cardiology in the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with these outstanding, tenacious young people!

*This and all other featured client stories and photographs have been approved for publication by the clients.

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