Originally from Honduras, Ana was raised in a village that provided little economic opportunity. She went to school until 6th grade and then had to work to support herself.
When Ana was 23 years old, she met a man who became her boyfriend and they moved in together. Initially a happy situation, everything changed when her boyfriend began to abuse Ana. And, as a tactic of isolation, he forbid Ana to leave the house unaccompanied.
Ana tried to separate from her boyfriend several times, even moving in with her brother, but he came after her. She could not even contact the police because he had a friend on the force who would make sure nothing was done to interfere.
After years of living in fear, Ana knew that she had to flee Honduras for her safety. She attempted to come to the United States in 2010, but she was caught by Mexican authorities and deported back to Honduras.
Her boyfriend found her again and the abuse continued. She fled for the second time in 2011, was detained upon entry and placed in removal proceedings.
While in detention, Ana was introduced to the Tahirih Justice Center whose staff and pro bono partners were able to provide the legal support she needed as she sought asylum in the United States. In July of 2013, two years after fleeing her home, Ana had a merits hearing in front of an immigration judge and although he found her credible, he denied asylum in large part because he rejected the particular social group of “women who can’t leave”. Tahirih appealed the ruling and it was another two years before a decision came from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
During that time, Ana could not apply for a work permit and could not get an ID. She struggled to support herself and as a non-English speaking immigrant, relied on her Tahirih legal representatives and social service case workers for trusted guidance.
In August of 2015, the BIA granted Ana’s appeal and remanded her case back to the same immigration judge. Tahirih helped her apply for a work permit while waiting for the new trial. Then, in April of 2016, six years after her initial escape from the violence and persecution cast upon her in Honduras, Ana was granted asylum.