Cases & Deals

Jones Day obtains asylum for unaccompanied minor from Guatemala

Clients WC

A Jones Day Los Angeles team of Rasha Gerges Shields, Michael Dailey, Jessica Sawyer, and Joe Gonzalez recently obtained asylum for our client, W.C., an unaccompanied minor who fled Guatemala for the United States at age 16.

As a young girl in Guatemala, W.C. suffered severe persecution from sources both inside and outside of the home. Beginning at a young age, W.C. was subjected to physical and emotional abuse at the hands of caretakers who treated the young girl like a servant and beat her for failing to follow orders. Outside of the home, W.C. was terrorized by the infamous Mara-18 gang that murdered several members of W.C.'s family and made targeted threats against the women in W.C.'s family.

In 2014, W.C. fled to the United States to escape her persecutors. Upon arriving in the United States, W.C. was detained at the border and placed in immigration removal proceedings. Over the course of one year, Jones Day represented W.C. in immigration removal proceedings before the Los Angeles Immigration Court and assisted W.C. in applying for asylum with the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). On June 13, 2016, USCIS granted W.C.'s application for asylum, allowing her to lawfully remain in the United States without fear of being returned to her persecutors in Guatemala.

This representation was part of a Firmwide initiative to represent unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings, following the detention of 60,000 unaccompanied minors in the Spring of 2014.

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