Honduran clients granted asylum
Clients H.C. and A.C.
Jones Day Houston associate Micah Doak recently prevailed after a four-hour evidentiary hearing and obtained an asylum grant on behalf of our clients, H.C., a Honduran woman who had suffered extreme domestic violence in Honduras, and A.C., her young daughter. Despite widespread under-reporting, domestic violence is the most commonly reported crime in Honduras, and is a leading cause of femicides - the killing of women because they are women. According to statistics reported by the United Nations, violence against women in Honduras increased 263.4 percent between 2005 and 2013, while impunity for perpetrators of this violence neared 97 percent. H.C. repeatedly reported her partner's physical and sexual violence to the Honduran authorities, but her partner was never even questioned by the police. After multiple failed attempts to escape her partner's violence, H.C. and her daughter fled to the United States.
While represented by a different lawyer, H.C. and A.C. were initially denied asylum. Their case was appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA"), which remanded the case largely on procedural grounds. Jones Day then received the case from YMCA International Services, and immediately began aggressively compiling a record to support H.C.'s asylum claim, submitting extensive briefing, documents, and expert testimony on the issue. After a second merits hearing and despite an hour-long cross examination, our well prepared client testified credibly about the persecution she suffered and the Honduran authorities' refusal to protect her from her persecutor. At the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, Judge Nimmo Bhagat found H.C. to be credible, and relying on what she referred to as "a mountain of evidence in the record," granted H.C. asylum. Her daughter will be granted asylum derivatively. The case is potentially significant because the client was part of a social group defined as Honduran married woman who are unable to leave their relationship, and the government has indicated it may appeal. Our clients and the Jones Day team of Micah Doak and Scott Fletcher (who provided limited coaching) are thrilled by the result.
In the Matter of H.C. and A.C., U. S. Immigration Court of Houston, TX (Nov. 29, 2016)