Asylum Granted: Jonathan’s Story

Victoria Metayer, April 8, 2022


Safe Passage Project is honored to recognize our client Jonathan (whose name has been changed to protect his privacy) who was recently granted asylum.  Jonathan is a young member of a Mayan indigenous tribe whose community and family have been systematically subjected to harassment and violence. These threats of violence ultimately forced his mother to flee Guatemala with Jonathan when he was 15 years old. Instead of reaching safety at the end of their harrowing journey, Jonathan and his mother were thrust into another nightmare when they were separated at the U.S. border. 

It would be over two years and endless litigation before they would see each other again. With the tremendous effort of sponsors and legal service providers located throughout the United States, Jonathan was able to move to New York and reunite with his mother. Together, they have been rebuilding their lives. 

His case was transferred to Safe Passage after his move to New York. Jonathan’s asylum claim was filed based on his race and indigenous identity, as well as the violence he faced from local gangs. The New York Asylum Office granted his asylum claim earlier this month. Jonathan’s case is a major win for Jonathan, Safe Passage, and other asylum advocates who have worked for decades on these issues. 

Jonathan’s case is even more significant because he is one of over 5,500 children who were separated from their families under the Zero Tolerance policy enacted in 2018 Jonathan is finally able to start planning for his future here in the United States. He is currently going to school and working part-time as he pursues his dream of becoming a movie producer.  Safe Passage applauds Jonathan’s bravery, and pledges to continue to support him on the next step of his journey.