Casa Cornelia Expands its Legal Services and Prevails

July 15, 2020

Carmen M. Chavez, Esq. – Executive Director, Casa Cornelia Law Center

Imperial County has long been San Diego’s underserved (often un-served!) neighbor when it comes to accessing legal services. An immigration detention center had been in the area for many years, but in 2014 the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, a larger center, was built.

With a primary focus on releasing detained asylum seekers through bond or parole, given the spread of Covid-19, CCLC attorneys recently started screening individuals seeking asylum at this Detention facility. One case was accepted for full representation, and he prevailed. This is his story.

In his home country of Cameroon, Marcel* was caught in the conflict between Anglophones and Francophones, enduring recurring violence, torture and persecution. In search of peace, Marcel fled his country. He began his long trek through neighboring African nations, then to South America, and eventually was able to travel North. Once in the United States, Casa Cornelia attorneys took his case and successfully represented him. He was granted asylum in May of 2020. Congratulations, Marcel!

CCLC had long considered the option of providing legal services to asylum seekers in Imperial County. During the 2012 review of the Asylum program, CCLC decided, realistically but unfortunately, it was not able to serve this county due to logistical challenges and limited resources. Now, however, CCLC is a more mature organization, one ready and most able to begin meeting this great need.

Go to to more about Casa Cornelia’s Asylum program.

*Name and photograph have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

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