Laura was 17 years old when she fled her home country of El Salvador. That was in 2018. She moved to Charlotte with her son, who was 2 years old at the time. She says she was being threatened by the gang that took responsibility for her brother’s disappearance a few years prior. We’re not using her full name because of her pending immigration status.
“They started threatening me, saying that if I didn’t collaborate with them to smuggle drugs and things like that, they could do the same thing they did to my brother,” Laura said.
She’s sitting in a conference room at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. Her son is with her and so are her two other kids, whom she had after arriving in the U.S. They’re watching a show on Laura’s phone while she goes over immigration paperwork with an employee from the center.
Laura was one of the 15 people selected to parti
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