It’s hard to apply for asylum. This clinic makes it easier for many seeking protection | Charlotte Observer

By DJ Simmons

Read more at: Charlotte legal advocates host asylum application clinic | Charlotte Observer

When Erika Salamanca journeyed to the United States, she brought her daughter on her hip with hope for more opportunities for her child. Desperate to escape gang violence, Salamanca fled El Salvador to the United States seeking asylum. She traveled through Guatemala and Mexico last winter to find safety for her family.

“I just wanted my daughter to have a better future here,” Salamanca, 26, said.

But with a one-year deadline to file for asylum after arriving, navigating complicated forms — especially in a language different from one’s native tongue — is difficult. The process can be discouraging. Some immigrants, likely so focused on surviving, are unaware they need to apply.

Recognizing that, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy offers a one-day asylum clinic for immigrants and pairs them with lawyers to file their applications, which would increase their chance of success in gaining asylum.

Salamanca was one of 30 participants Friday who came to the center’s East Charlotte office for assistance.

CCLA is the only nonprofit offering this type of pro-se clinic in North Carolina and South Carolina. This was the third clinic held this year by CCLA.

Charlotte legal advocates host asylum application clinic | Charlotte Observer