Xiomara started dating him when she was 17. He was different then, not yet the man who pushed drugs and ran with a gang. Not the man who she says berated and raped her, who roused her out of bed some mornings only to beat her.
Not the man who choked her with an electrical cord, or put a gun to her head while she screamed, then begged, “‘Please, please don’t kill me — I love you.’”
Fleeing El Salvador with their daughter, then 4, the 23-year-old mother pleaded for help at a port of entry in El Paso on a chilly day in December 2016.
After nearly two years, her petition for asylum remains caught in a backlog of more than 310,000 other claims. But while she has waited for a ruling, her chance of success has plunged.