An asylum hearing in the Chicago area Tuesday concluded that an 8-year-old boy will have to wait a little longer before learning if his family can stay in the United States or be forced to return to their native Honduras.
Judge Kaarina Salovaara told Iker Velasquez and his family that she’d notify their attorney of her decision via mail.
Christopher Helt, the family’s attorney, has represented Iker and his mother Evelyn Velasquez for years. He said he expects a decision from the judge within 30 days. He was disappointed they didn't get one Tuesday, but calls the minors' testimony a victory.
“Iker was able to tell his story not from my lips, but form his own,” Helt said. “Why he wants to stay, what he’s been doing here, what he’s been doing in Chicago for the past half decade, and why he does not want to return, and why his mother does not want to return.
Evelyn Velasquez and her son fled Honduras in 2014, fearing political persecution. They traveled nearly 2,000 miles by foot, bus and raft to escape threats from street gangs.
“To send this child back to the imminent danger that he would live in, and his mother, would be a death sentence,” said Julie Contreras with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
“He’s in court with his little brother and mother fighting for the right to live in basic freedom with his family," she said.
The Velasquez family lives in Waukegan where Iker goes to school. His brother, Liam, is an American citizen.
Iker and his family will remain in the country legally until an asylum decision is made.