Pro Bono: Asylum Obtained For Central American Refugee
In 2016, a young woman from Central America entered the United States as a minor with her sisters after escaping the powerful Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) international criminal gang. MS-13 gang members repeatedly targeted the women, including physical and life-threatening attacks. Working closely with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), Barack Ferrazzano's legal team filed our client’s asylum application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), arguing that she has a reasonable fear of persecution if forced to return to Central America, and then represented her in her interview in front of the Asylum Office. On October 12th, our client was granted asylum.
As a result, she is able to remain in the United States, has obtained employment authorization in order to support herself and will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in one year. The NIJC and Barack Ferrazzano continue to work on a pro bono basis to assist our client's family members with their asylum cases.
The Barack Ferrazzano pro bono team for this asylum case consisted of Ed Malone, Alice Lin, Lisette Ochoa (paralegal), Eric Maier (summer associate) and several support staff throughout the Firm. These cases are always challenging and are increasingly difficult in the current climate, so both we and our clients are extremely grateful for the dedication, skill and commitment shown by this team — and the Firm as a whole — in providing these pro bono services.