Central American Legal Assistance Ayuda Legal Para Refugiados Salvadoreños y Guatemaltecos

Major Federal Litigation

Celedon-Herrera v. Holder, No. 13-2404 (2d Cir. 9-11-2015)
Family members targeted by Honduran gangs entitled to asylum despite some efforts by local police to arrest perpetrators.


CALA also has three other gang-based cases pending in the 2nd Circuit.


In 2007, ICE teams conducted a number of warrantless raids into peoples’ homes in the middle of the night in the New York City area. CALA has represented fourteen victims of these raids filing motions to terminate their removal proceedings. Most were granted by local immigration judges; ICE appealed. After receiving inconsistent decisions at the BIA (some upholding the Judges’ decisions, most reversing), CALA took two cases to federal court. 


On July 31, 2013, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued two decisions affirming the rights of immigrants to challenge evidence obtained by ICE in egregious violation of their Fourth Amendment protections.  Here are those decisions:

 Doroteo Sicajau Corzojay v. HolderNo. 11-4916-1g (2d Cir. 7-31-2013)
Middle of the night warrantless home raid found to be an egregious constitutional violation justifying exclusion of all evidence obtained through the unlawfull ICE behavior. Physical harm is not necessary to establish egregious conduct.

 Jose Pretzantzin, et al. v. Holder, No. 11-2867-ag (2d Cir. 7-31-2013)
Finding that the phrase “the identity is never suppressible” is jurisdictional and does not allow the Department to use any “identity evidence” obtained through egregiously unconstitutional behavior.

Other Decisions:

Gomez-Beleno v. Mukasey, 291 Fed. Appx. 411 (2d Cir. 2008)
Finding nexus for asylum based on death threats and attempted killing in Colombia; attorney’s fees awarded to CALA. 644 F.3d 139 (2d Cir. 2011).

Rodas-Castro v. Holder, 597 F.3d 93 (2d Cir. 2010)
Guatemalan police officer who resisted police corruption is entitled to asylum.

Jorge-Tzoc v. Gonzales, 435 F.3d 146 (2d Cir. 2006)
Holding that child survivor of torture/death of parent has claim for asylum. (Guatemala)

Secaida-Rosales v. INS, 331 F.3d 297 (2d Cir. 2003)
Reversal of overly restrictive agency ruling on when asylum-seeker may be deemed not credible. (Guatemala)

Alvarado-Carillo v. INS, 251 F.3d 44 (2d Cir. 2001)
Winning reversal of finding that Guatemalan union activist’s testimony had been “vague” and lacked documentary proof. (Guatemala)

Blanco v. INS, 68 F.3d 642 (2d Cir. 1995)
Established that Immigration judges must consider socio-political conditions in home country when deciding if hardship to return alien even in non-asylum cases. (El Salvador)

Osorio v. INS, 18 F.3d 1017 (2d Cir. 1994)
Major asylum victory for union activist that set forth rule of law that “political” must be defined broadly in persecution cases. Attorneys’ fees granted. (Guatemala)

Sotelo v. Slattery, 17 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 1994)
Successful asylum claim for detained Peruvian, establishing level of proof needed for asylum cases. Attorneys’ fees granted.

Campos v. Nail, 940 F.2d 495 (9th Cir. 1991); 43 F.3d 1285 (9th Cir. 1994)
Ten year class action litigation and first-ever suit against sitting Federal immigration judge for systematic violation of aliens’ due process rights.
(Plaintiffs were Guatemalans and Salvadorans)

 We are happy to collaborate with other attorneys fighting the good fight on these unconstitutional practices. If you can afford to do so, please donate to help cover our costs.



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