Cases & Deals

Mauritanian client wins asylum in record time

Clients Mauritania applicant for U.S. asylum

Giselle Perez and Lindsey Dates of Jones Day Chicago, persuaded Immigration Judge Carlos Cuevas, in less than an hour, to grant asylum to our Mauritanian client. Our client is a brilliant woman who obtained her degree in agricultural engineering in Moscow (because she was such a good student, the Mauritanian government paid for her to be schooled in the then Soviet Union). Upon her return to her homeland, she became employed in a state-owned company and later took part in the African Liberation Front of Mauritania ("FLAM") which demanded legal rights for Mauritanian people against the government of the president Maouya Taya. In April 1989, the Mauritanian government, which had introduced measures intended to "Arabize" the country and discriminated against black Mauritanians, began deporting black Mauritanians to Senegal. One month later, our client returned home from work to find her family missing and her home ransacked. When she went to the local police station to inquire about her family, she was arrested and jailed for three weeks. During this period, she was beaten, raped and burned with hot irons repeatedly. The client was then taken to Senegal where she was taken in by the Red Cross and the people of Senegal. There, she rejoined her husband and children. In 2002, after years of working odd jobs and ultimately as a housekeeper in Senegal (where she and her family had no legal status), her employer helped her flee to the United States, where she quickly applied for asylum.

Giselle and Lindsey found a wonderful Mauritanian expert and prepared a compelling brief that largely persuaded the judge (and even the Department of Homeland Security attorney) of the merits of our client's case. After a brief and very directed examination by Giselle of the client, the judge decided to grant asylum. Summer associates Emma Salustro and Justin Rosenberg assisted Lindsey and Giselle ably.

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