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Last year, “Juan,” an indigenous Guatemalan teenager living in Great Barrington, attended one of New England JFON’s virtual legal clinics.
In Guatemala, Juan, his parents, and his six siblings lived in a very small house and regularly struggled to find enough food to eat. In 2019, at the age of 17, Juan made the perilous journey north to the United States in hopes of improving his family’s living conditions.

His plans were derailed when he was held in custody for two years because the government did not find anyone considered suitable to care for him.

When he was finally old enough to be released, he found an apartment and roommates in Great Barrington and enrolled in school; his English tutor suggested that he contact New England JFON for legal aid.

Juan’s New England JFON lawyer was able to confirm that Juan was eligible for legal status as an unaccompanied minor, and she filed his petition with the US Immigration Service. Now Juan is eagerly waiting for the petition to be approved. Once that happens, he will be able to avoid deportation, work legally in the US, finish school, and eventually obtain a green card.

Thanks to our generous donors, all of Juan’s legal services were provided free of charge. Our volunteers, contributors, and legal partners work together to create bright new futures for unaccompanied minors like Juan.