This post is by Tagreed “Tina” Nafisi and Junou Odige, law students at Catholic University. In October, when we met Martha* we could not even begin to fathom the endless hurdles we might have to jump. When one door would close, a window would appear. When something seemed like a dead end, it was really a detour. Throughout this journey of preparing for the individual hearing, two things remained constant though: our client’s faith and our diligence.
At a time of year when we honor togetherness and fresh starts, we are comforted to know that Benach Collopy clients, Kira and her four-year-old son Ricky, have finally been granted asylum and are reunited with their husband/father, Andre, here in the United States.* This family of faith was torn apart by targeted and systematic violence at the hands of the M-18 gang, the de facto government in Guatemala, all because they preached about peace and encouraged non-violence in their community – in the eyes of the M-18, a message of disloyalty and dissidence that needed to be eradicated.
By: Jessica Leal, Student Attorney in the George Washington Law School Immigration Clinic and 3L at GW Law On November 26, 2013, my client, M-L-R-, won the opportunity to sleep at night. M-L-R- was granted asylum by Immigration Judge Paul W. Schmidt. She fled El Salvador after she was brutally raped and beaten by an MS-13 gang leader and was told that she would have to be subject to his sexual demands in the future.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court which sets federal law in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, will hear two cases regarding U.S. asylum law. In Temu v. Holder and Martinez v. Holder, the court will consider the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.” The decisions in these cases will determine whether asylum law will be more inclusive or whether the law will shut many deserving applicants out of the protection of asylum.