This webinar will provide substantive information about the socio-political landscape giving rise to asylum claims for victims of violence from Mexico and Central America. We will discuss how to use country conditions research and how to work with expert witnesses in order to present this information in a persuasive manner in an asylum application. This material will be discussed in the context of the legal requirements of an asylum claim, including an overview of the particular social group ground for asylum and an in-depth analysis of the nexus requirement.
Lourdes Martinez, ILRC Staff Attorney
Lourdes, an immigrant herself, spent her childhood in central Mexico before moving with her family to the United States. Before joining ILRC, she worked as an immigration attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center in the DC metropolitan area, where she represented immigrant women and girls survivors of gender-based violence on immigration matters. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, where she was awarded the JB & Maurice Shapiro Public Service Fellowship for her dedication to public interest law. While in law school, she worked on international human rights litigation involving cases from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean both, with the International Human Rights Clinic at GWU and as a law clerk with the Center for Justice and International Law in San Jose, Costa Rica. She also worked with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, providing legal services and Know Your Rights presentations for immigrant detainees in Virginia. Finally, she spent a year with the Public Defender Service of Washington, DC, directly representing criminal defendants before the U.S. Parole Commission and drafting briefs for criminal court. Lourdes began her career in immigration law as a paralegal at Tindall & Foster, PC in Houston, Texas. She is fluent in Spanish and French.
Thomas Boerman, Ph.D.
Dr. Boerman's areas of professional focus include the personal and environmental factors that underlie the initiation, maintenance, and cessation of gang activity; and the development of school, community and institution-based gang prevention, rehabilitation, and social reinsertion programs in the U.S and Latin America. He has a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Latin America, and has been involved in human rights issues in the region since 1985. Since 2004 he has served as a consultant to numerous international development and donor organizations active in addressing the gang phenomenon in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama, and has worked as a trial consultant and expert witness in approximately 45 Central American gang related asylum cases since 2007.