On August 17, 2020, Williams & Connolly secured a victory for two Honduran refugees in Baltimore Immigration Court. This case is one of many immigrant rights cases that Williams & Connolly has undertaken on a pro bono basis in recent years. Our clients—a then 21-year old sister and her 12-year old brother—fled from Honduras to the United States after their mother’s death to escape threats by criminal gang Mara-18 because their father refused the gang’s extortionate demands and took steps to prevent his children’s recruitment into the gang. When they arrived in the United States two years ago, our clients were immediately apprehended and separated pursuant to the government’s child separation policy. For four months, the young boy was prevented from seeing his sister, who was also his legal guardian, before they were reunited.
A Williams & Connolly team, led by associates Mindy Johnson and Kate Adams, set to work preparing claims for asylum in a hearing originally scheduled to occur in May 2020. They developed a powerful factual record, supported by expert testimony, corroborating the threats to our clients and their inability to escape those threats in Honduras. But just hours after the team filed its brief, the COVID crisis forced the postponement of the merits hearing until September 2024. Undeterred, the team sought expedited consideration; the court granted the request and set the hearing for August 2020. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge granted asylum to both our clients, assuring them that they no longer needed to fear removal to Honduras. He said that he looks forward to the contributions they will make to our country. Williams & Connolly will continue to assist them on their path to citizenship.