b'OPENING THE DOOR TO A NEW BEGINNINGJon grew up in Ecuador, where he spent hisauthorities in Texas and could not be located by earlyyearswithhisgrandmotherandAuntICE. Learning that Jon had previously texted anPAIR could not Maria because his parents were unable to copeimage of his ID card to his Aunt Maria, attorneyserve as many with his serious medical issues. His grandmotherLen Weiser-Varon convinced the court to accept died when Jon was 12, and though his Aunt Mariathe texted image of the card as adequate proof ofclients as it was living in New Jersey by then, she remainedidentity. Former Mintz attorney Aditya Perakathsuccessfully does asteadypresenceinhislifethroughhisteenhelpedLenbuildJonscase,interviewingwithout pro bono years,sendingmoneyandcallingJoneverytheclient,draftingaffidavits,andpreparing morning and evening to check on him. Sustainedpleadings for the bond hearing. Former Mintzleaders like Len by his aunts financial and emotional support,projectanalystEduardoGonzalezandformerWeiser-Varon and Jon managed on his own for many years until aMintzparalegalSvetlanaSantosassisted local gang began pressuring him to sell drugs,throughout by serving as translators.the entire legal threateningtokillhimandhismotherifheDespite a ruling secured by Mintz and the ACLUteam at Mintz refused. After Jon rebuffed their demands twice,in the 2019 Brito class action requiring the Boston thegangfollowedthroughontheirwarnings,who supported kidnappingandassaultingJonandlaterImmigrationCourttoevaluatealternativesto detention and consider a detainees ability to payJons case. We murdering his mother in front of him. The localwhen setting bond, the judge set a steep bondare thankful for police did nothing to help, so Jon fled Ecuador,amount of $12,000. Although Mintz had obtained eventually crossing the border into Texas in Junethe judges release order, it was without effectMintzs partnership 2019. He spent months in multiple ICE detentionunless the $12,000 could be raised.Mintz assistedwith us and for centersuntilMintzattorneysledamultistageJon in cobbling together money from his aunt, effort to reunite him with his aunt and help himthe exceptional secure legal permission to remain in the Unitedtwo nonprofit organizations, and an individual donor, enabling Jon to post bail and move intolegal work, States. his aunts New Jersey home in December 2019.generous spirit, and After several weeks at an ICE facility in Texas, JonThePAIRrepresentationwascomplete,butdedication of the wastransferredtoaPlymouth,MassachusettsJons heartrending circumstances prompted the detentioncenter,andtheDepartmentoffirm to continue representing him in his questfirms volunteer HomelandSecurity(DHS)begandeportationtowards citizenship. attorneys.proceedings. PAIR, a nonprofit organization thatHelping somebody on something as basic as can assists impoverished asylum seekers and otheryou become a citizen of the United States or willANITA P. SHARMAdetainees, stepped in and referred Jon to Mintzyou be returned to a place where your life is inExecutive Directorwith the goal of getting him released to his auntsjeopardy and you no longer really have any family,PAIR Projectsupervisionwhileheappliedforandawaitedand achieving a positive outcome on that is about immigration benefits. as satisfying as it gets in legal work, Len said. Despitesuchacompellingunderlyingstory,BecauseoftheTrumpadministrationpolicy Jonscaseforreleaseprovedtobeanuphilllimitingasylumformigrantsfleeinggang battle.AtthefirstoftwohearingsinOctoberviolence,theMintzteamdecidedthebest 2019,thejudgeinsistedthatJonneededtocoursewouldbetoobtainSpecialImmigrant present identification papers even though his IDJuvenileStatus(SIJS)fromUSCitizenshipand card had been taken from him by immigrationImmigrationServices(USCIS)forJonpriorto TRANSCENDING // Mintz Pro Bono Journal 11'