After a lifetime of escaping violence and poverty in El Salvador, 19-year-old Herbert came to the United States determined to make a better future. The life he built here – as a husband, father, business owner and leader in his community – was nearly destroyed by one traffic violation. Herbert was fortunate to find the help he needed to navigate an extremely complex immigration justice system. We tell his remarkable story in our latest photo essay, created with the generous support of freelance photographer Lisa Helfert.
The Civil Justice Connection
Everyone in the United States has rights under our civil justice system. But it can be hard to know who to trust when you need legal help. Immigrants in particular are vulnerable to people who falsely claim to be attorneys but in reality charge thousands of dollars to make an already bad situation much worse, even resulting in unnecessary deportation. When Herbert learned that a 7-year-old, long-settled traffic violation had caused him to lose Temporary Protected Status, and that he was under a deportation order, he was terrified, not only for himself but even more so for his wife and U.S.-born children. All too often, families like Herbert’s are shattered because they don’t have the legal help they need to make their case effectively before an immigration judge.
Share Your Story
If you’ve experienced a civil justice problem (for example, a threat of eviction, a suspicious demand for debt collection, or a disagreement about child custody), you’re not alone – and we want to hear from you. Share your story and join the campaign to fix our civil justice system so it works for everyone.
Explore Storytelling Resources
Reforming our civil justice system requires elevating the stories of people it hurts so no one can ignore everyday civil justice problems and solutions to them. Check out our digital storytelling toolkit to help you better tell the stories of people affected by the civil justice system.
Find the Untold Stories
Working on a story for media about a civil justice problem? Interested in telling one? Connecting with clients, lawyers, and advocates is the place to start. To find the civil justice angle and get connected to a source, click here to send us a note.