On August 19, 2010, a Houston immigration judge granted asylum to two of our clients, a mother and her three-year-old daughter fleeing their home country of Mali. Asylum was awarded on the basis of the probable forced female genital mutilation (FGM) of the daughter, Ms. M., and the anticipated retribution on her mother, Ms. A, for protecting her daughter. The U.S. Department of State estimates that over 95% of Malian women undergo forced FGM, an incredibly painful procedure which has many lifetime consequences, including the physical effects of problematic pregnancies, frequent infections and constant pain, and significant psychological repercussions, such as major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders.
The Mayer Brown team consisted of Anne Kersch and Mitch Gibbons, and the case was referred to the firm by the Tahirih Justice Center, a not-for-profit organization that works to protect immigration women and girls seeking justice from gender-based violence. Mitch and Anne were interviewed as part of a Houston television news story about the case. The story and a video are available at http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7848417.