Cases & Deals

Asylum case administratively closed

Client(s) Client E

In January, a Jones Day Washington team, consisting of  Mike Will, Pratibha Kanive, Daniella Einik, and Jim Gauch, successfully resolved deportation proceedings against a young Salvadoran women who fled her native country to escape brutal gang attacks from the Mara Salvatrucha. As part of the Firm’s long-term partnership with the CAIR Coalition, Jones Day first became involved after officials from the United States Customs and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) detained the client in 2006. Attorneys were able to secure her quick release and file an application for asylum and withholding of removal on the basis of religious and political persecution, as well as membership in a particular social group.

Prior to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”) individual calendar hearing, however, the United States Embassy in El Salvador preliminarily approved a separate request for an I-130 immigrant visa because the client was the minor child of a lawful permanent resident. Then, at the EOIR hearing, the immigration judge indicated his preference to reserve judgment on the asylum petition until the Embassy made its final determination on the immigrant visa application. Jones Day spent the next five years attempting to overcome legal impediments created by two different and conflicting paths to citizenship.

The case was slated to return to the EOIR when, in June 2011, USCIS director John Morton issued a memorandum on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that immigration enforcement resources match the correct enforcement priorities. The directive provided another — and ultimately successful — avenue for relief. Because the client did not jeopardize the stated goals of promoting national security, border security, public safety, and the integrity of the immigration system, Jones Day was able to convince USCIS to request administrative closure of the removal proceedings, a request the EOIR timely granted. The favorable result allows the client to remain lawfully in the United States without fear of being returned to El Salvador to face additional persecution.