Mayer Brown litigators in Washington DC successfully secured a grant of asylum for Mr. X, a pro bono client, after a two-day individual merits hearing before the Arlington Immigration Court. Mr. X, a Salvadoran national, endured rape, beatings, and death threats from MS-13 gang members because of his identity as a gay man, and because he assisted his mother in securing custody of his 5-year-old niece from her father, a MS-13 gang member who had abused the little girl. (Mayer Brown had obtained Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for the girl in August 2016.) Although Mr. X had failed to file his asylum petition within the one-year deadline, which generally presents a bar to asylum, Mayer Brown persuaded the court that the delay was attributable to and thus excused by the grossly ineffective representation of Mr. X’s former counsel. US Litigation Professional Support Lawyer Catherine Bernard authored the brief, presented the argument, and conducted the examinations in the case, with support from DC associate Kristina Portner. The matter was referred by the Tahirih Justice Center, an organization that serves immigrant women and girls escaping violence and persecution.
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