Associate Team Secures Pro Bono Victory for Honduran Refugees in USCIS Asylum Case

January 2021

On December 23, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (“USCIS”) granted asylum to two Williams & Connolly clients, a brave mother and her four-year-old son, who fled Honduras in order to escape death threats, political persecution, and domestic violence.  

For most of her adult life, our client, Ms. V, had protested the government of President Juan Hernandez.  She was an active member of the opposition political party (the LIBRE Party) and  she regularly engaged in political action: she attended protests and opposition party meetings, monitored polls, pamphleteered, and openly and courageously voiced her support for the LIBRE Party—and her objection to the ruling National Party—on social media. She also actively advocated for social change and justice for women and children through her personal actions, and she defied the ruling party’s patriarchal social and political norms by working outside the home to achieve financial independence.  For exercising these rights, police refused to protect her and her son from physical and sexual abuse and escalating death threats from an abuser.  Indeed, the police expressly told her that because she opposed the government, they would not take the time to protect her or her son.  Though she tried to hide, her abuser tracked her down, raped her, and again threatened to kill her.  Unable to obtain any protection or hide, she fled with her son.

After a harrowing six-month journey, our clients arrived in Texas only to be separated at the border.  They were reunited a month later but faced a high likelihood of being forcibly removed from the United States, a fate made even more likely due to recent changes in government policies.  Then Williams & Connolly stepped in to help.  Led by associate Hope Daily, the W&C team spent countless hours preparing Ms. V to appear before the USCIS to tell her story, and collecting supporting affidavits and evidence from understandably reluctant witnesses in Honduras.  Ultimately, the team’s efforts convinced the USCIS to grant our clients’ petition for asylum.  Williams & Connolly is thrilled to share this result and will continue to assist our clients on their path to citizenship.

Other members of the team included Francisco Navarro, Ana Melara, Loretha Gray, Greg Bowman, and John Murray.

This case is one of many immigrant rights cases that Williams & Connolly has undertaken on a pro bono basis in recent years.
 

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