Ms Elizabeth G. Kennedy


Elizabeth G. Kennedy, Ph.D. candidate, Geography, San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, MSc. University of Oxford. She has lived, worked and conducted research with Spanish-speaking communities for 13 years. Since beginning her doctoral program in 2011, she has published frequently in academic and popular presses. Journalists from numerous English-, French- and Spanish-language print, radio and television media have consulted her as an expert, and she provides expert testimony in Central American asylum seekers’ cases in Canada, Sweden, the UK and US. She focuses on the experiences and needs of child, youth and forced migrants.

Dr Deborah T Levenson


Dr Levenson is an associate professor of history at BC and an affiliate of the Asociación para el Avance de las Ciencias Sociales en Guatemala, located in Guatemala City. She has written extensively about Guatemala since 1983. Her work has centered on labor unions, violence and gangs. Her most recent book is Adiós Niño, The Gangs of Guatemala City and the Politics of Death, published by Duke University Press.

Dr Cecilia Menjívar

Department of Sociology, UCLA

Cecilia Menjívar, Professor of Sociology at UCLA, only accepts Country of Origin Information cases of women asylum seekers coming from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to the US. Dr Menjívar specializes in immigration, gender, family dynamics, social networks, gender violence, and religious institutions and she is interested in two main empirical areas: the impacts of the legal regime and laws on immigrants, and the effects of living in contexts of multi-sided violence on individuals, especially women. Her work on gender-based violence is centered on Central America. Dr Menjívar has published on Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador; among her publications, Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America (California, 2000), Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala (California, 2011),  Immigrant Families (Polity 2016), and co-editor of Constructing Illegal Immigration: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses (Cambridge, 2014), Deportation and Return in a Border-Restricted World: Experiences in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (2017); and The Oxford Handbook of Migration Crises (Oxford, 2019). 

Please note that she only accepts cases of gender-based violence against women from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador seeking asylum in the U.S., and only pro bono cases from non-profit law community organizations or law clinics.

Dr Brent Metz


Brent E Metz, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Kansas. His research focuses on the changing quality of life and the politics of identity among impoverished Ch’orti’-Maya subsistence farmers in eastern Guatemala and western Honduras, and mestizos in the former Ch’orti’-speaking area of northwestern El Salvador. He is a co-founder of the Lawrence Centro Hispano, an applied field school in Honduras, and also of an Engineers Without Borders professional chapter, involving development in the broadest sense, including identity, consciousness raising, technology, health, and political participation. Besides his Mayan research, he has undertaken ethnographic research among Mexican-American migrant farmworkers in Michigan, on religious festivals in Seville, Spain, and of agrochemical practices among Costa Rican coffee farmers.

Dr Debra Rodman


Debra H. Rodman is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Randolph-Macon College and Director of Women’s Studies. Dr Rodman received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, and her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Miami. She is an expert on Latin American immigrant communities, transnational migration, gender and ethnic relations, and Eastern Guatemala. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and has received support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Dr Rodman serves as an expert witness for U.S. Federal immigration courts providing affidavits and testimony for Guatemalan migrants seeking political asylum.  Dr Rodman has served as an expert witness on domestic violence, homosexual and transgender individuals (for all Central America), land tenure conflicts, and general political and social conditions. She serves as the immigration and refugee liaison for the Guatemalan Scholars Network.

Dr Jennifer Schirmer


Jennifer Schirmer holds a PhD. in Anthropology and is Research Professor and Projects Director of Conflict Analysis, Armed Actors and Peace Dialogues at the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo. Between 1996 and 2004, she was a fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the School of Public Health, a Henry Luce Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, and an Associate of the Program on Non-Violent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Dr Schirmer has expert knowledge of both the historical and current conditions in Guatemala, with a particular focus on the Guatemalan military and on violence against women. Based on her interviews with over 50 high-ranking Guatemalan military and police officers for her book, The Guatemalan Military Project: A Violence Called Democracy as well as articles in the Harvard International Review, State Crime Journal and Human rights Quarterly , as to their mindset and negative attitudes towards “dissidents” or “troublemakers”, she can address issues of military intelligence and police practices with regard to human rights violations, drugtrafficking and corruption over the last 25 years. In addition, her interviews with women active in both women’s and human rights movements in El Salvador and Guatemala also provide an expertise on women’s condition in Central America over the last 25 years. She has published numerous articles on this subject in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Harvard Women’s Law Journal, Feminist Review, and Cases and Materials on Feminist Jurisprudence: Taking Women Seriously. 

Dr Harry E. Vanden (LGBTI)


Dr Vanden is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of South Florida, Tamp. He holds a Ph.D., Polit­ical Science with a minor concentration in Latin American Studies from The New School for Social Research, New York, an M.A in Political Science and a graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, a International Affairs, minor in Spanish from Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania and a “Diploma” from the Universidad Computense de Madrid, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Madrid, España (New York University Junior Year in Spain). He has written and researched extensively on Central America political conditions and Central American Gang Activity. He has also carried out election observation in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Mozambique. He has acted as an expert Witness on country conditions in U.S. Immigration, Federal and State Courts in the areas of general political and social conditions, gangs and gang victimization in Central America, status of homosexuals and domestic violence. His most recent published books include: Social Movements and Leftists Governments in Latin America. London: Zed Press, 2012, Gary Prevost, Carlos Oliva and Harry E. Vanden, eds.; José Carlos Mariátegui: An Anthology of His Writings. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011, translated and edited by Harry E. Vanden and Marc Becker; Latin America: An Introduction. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011,Gary Prevost and Harry E. Vanden; Politics of Latin America: The Power Game. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th edition (further revised with additional new chapter on U.S.- Latin American Relations ), 2012, Harry E. Vanden and Gary Prevost; Latin American Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century, Resistance, Power, and Democracy, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, Richard Stahler-Sholk, Harry E. Vanden and Glen Kuecker, eds (Chosen as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2009) and Inter-American Relations in an Era of Globalization. Beyond Unilaterialism? Whitby, Ontario: de Sitter Publications, 2007, Jorge Nef. and Harry E. Vanden, eds.

Dr Joseph Wiltberger


Dr Wiltberger is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. His research focuses on the political, social, and economic conditions and driving forces of migration to the United States of Central Americans. He has conducted extensive field research in El Salvador, and he has carried out field research examining the situation of Central American migrants in transit in Mexico, on the U.S./Mexico border, and in the United States. He continues to maintain an active research agenda in Central America. He is currently working on research that examines the situation of asylum-seekers fleeing gang-related violence in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Dr Wiltberger has authored several academic publications, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Inter-American Foundation, among other sources. He has served as an expert witness on the asylum cases of youth, women, families, and others fleeing violence in El Salvador and elsewhere in the Northern Triangle region. 

Megan Ybarra


Megan Ybarra is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Washington, Seattle. She only accepts Country of Origin Information cases for rural northern Guatemala and rural southern Mexico, and only from non-profit law clinics. Her first research project examines settler colonialism, violence and land activism in Guatemala’s Maya Forest. Her work has been published in journals including  Antipode Journal of Peasant Studies  and  Geoforum . Her current research interests include abolitionist solidarity in immigrant justice activism in the US and Mexico’s immigration enforcement practices towards Central American migrants.