Cases & Deals

Asylum granted to unaccompanied alien child pursuant to the The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act

Clients Client AA

Jones Day obtained asylum for Client AA, an unaccompanied alien child from Somalia. A.A. was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1991 in the midst of a violent civil war and regime change. Due to the upheaval, and because A.A.'s father had been a military officer in the former government and feared retaliation from the new Somali leadership, A.A.'s family was forced to evacuate their home in Mogadishu. A.A. and his family continued to encounter abuse and discrimination on the basis of their membership in a low-status, "untouchable" clan and tribe. When A.A. and his mother attempted to reclaim the family home and property in Mogadishu, years after their evacuation, his mother was killed by members of the ruling militia, and A.A. was placed in solitary confinement and subjected to horrific physical and psychological abuse. A.A. was eventually released by his captors on the basis of a ransom negotiated with his father. In 2008, A.A. fled the country as a stowaway in a ship bound for Dubai.

A.A. made his way to the United States (via the UAE, Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico) and was stopped by the U.S. government at the Texas-Mexico border. He was transferred to a detention facility in Chicago, placed in removal proceedings, and Jones Day attorneys Matt Szwajkowski and Vered Jona began work on his defensive asylum application. Subsequent to our filing of A.A.'s asylum application and affidavit with the Immigration Court, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA") went into effect. This statute grants unaccompanied alien children who are in removal proceedings - like A.A. - the ability to affirmatively petition an Asylum Office for relief, thus establishing a parallel avenue for unaccompanied alien children to obtain asylum in the United States. Jones Day obtained a continuance of A.A.'s removal proceedings in the Immigration Court and refiled his affirmative asylum application with the government on the basis of the TVPRA. After a hearing with an asylum officer in April 2010, the USCIS granted A.A.'s asylum application.