On November 9, 2011, a San Antonio immigration judge granted asylum to our client, a victim of domestic violence from El Salvador. Domestic violence against women and girls is a widespread phenomena in El Salvador, with various studies indicating it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. Our client sought refuge from the continuous and severe physical, sexual and psychological abuse inflicted by her common law husband and the father of her children. Asylum was granted on the basis of past persecution due to membership in a particular social group—an unsettled area of the law with respect to victims of domestic violence. The Department of Homeland Security waived appeal in the case, rendering the grant of asylum final.
The Mayer Brown team consisted of Houston associate Ryan Cicero, supervised by partner Toshi Yoshida. Ryan Cicero drafted the pre-hearing brief and argued the case in front of the immigration judge. The case was referred to the firm by the Tahirih Justice Center, a not-for-profit organization that works to protect immigrant women and girls seeking justice from gender-based violence.