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“De Novo” Play Explores Plight of Asylum Seekers

(Boston, Revised 02/09/11) New England Law | Boston: De Novo, a documentary theater presentation about minors seeking asylum from U.S. immigration custody, will premiere in Boston at the Stuart Street Playhouse.  The free performance will take place on Wednesday, February 9, 6:30-8:30 pm.

De Novo posterThe Boston premiere is on February 9.

The presentation is cosponsored by New England Law | Boston’ s Center for Law and Social Responsibility and the Immigration Law Association.  RSVPs are requested; please contact Martha Drane ’10, center fellow,, 617-422-7434.

The play was singled out for the Boston Globe's "To do list" for February 9.

In 2004, 16-year-old Edgar Chocoy was gunned down in his home nation of Guatemala by the largest gang in Central America.  He had earlier filed for asylum in the United States, pleading that he had a well-founded fear of returning to his country.  In his hearing, he testified:  “If I go back, they’ll kill me.” This true story, crafted from court transcripts, interviews, and letters tells the story of a case that exposed fatal flaws in our immigration system.

Edgar tried to escape the gang by traveling over 3,000 miles, across the borders of three countries, in search of his mother, who came to the U.S. to find work. Detained by the Department of Homeland Security, he unsuccessfully asked for asylum.

De Novo chronicles the gripping true story of Edgar and other young people seeking asylum. Each year, thousands of these children make the dangerous journey across the border and through the U.S. justice system.  The play’s Off Broadway run was hailed by Show Business Weekly for its “superb acting and directing.”

“Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers that can accompany immigration,” notes Professor Dina Haynes, director of New England Law | Boston’s Immigration Law Project.  “This play is a searing commentary on what can happen when we fail to fulfill our domestic and international law obligations to protect those who have a well-founded fear of being returned to their home countries.  When we fail these asylum seekers it is often not because we think the law is wrong or doesn’t apply, but because we are afraid of floodgates opening and too many coming in search of protection.”
The Houses of the Moon Theater Company production, written and directed by Jeffrey Solomon, features images by acclaimed photojournalist Donna DeCesare.  The performance will be followed by discussion with the creative team and immigration experts.

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