15 June 2012
On April 9, 2012, a New York immigration judge granted asylum to our client, a female refugee from Mali. Our client was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) and a forced marriage to her late husband who severely abused her physically, sexually, and psychologically during their nearly decade-long marriage. Our client also had a well-founded fear of future persecution if forced to return to Mali based upon her impending marriage to her late husband’s polygamous younger brother, and threats from her in-laws to subject her five-year-old daughter, a US citizen, to FGM. The Department of Homeland Security waived appeal in the case, rendering the grant of asylum final.
The Mayer Brown team consisted of New York Litigation associate Melissa Francis, supervised by partner Steven Wolowitz. Brian Power, a Tax Controversy associate, made a significant contribution to the case by representing our client in concurrent landlord-tenant proceedings. The case was referred to the firm by Sanctuary for Families, the leading nonprofit in New York State dedicated to serving domestic violence and sex trafficking victims and their children.