Pro Bono Representation of Political Asylum Seeker

After experiencing the horrible atrocities in her homeland, our client and her four young children fled Somalia’s civil war for the relative safety of Ethiopia. She fled again to Djibouti, but not before she was forced to leave her oldest son behind. He was 11 years old at the time. In Djibouti, she and her children were constantly threatened and harassed until the local Somali community arranged for her travel to Canada so that she could seek asylum in the country where her brother resided. She was picked up by Canadian immigration authorities after attempting to cross with her children from Buffalo, NY into Canada. Because of asylum laws, she was handed over to U.S. authorities, booked, and then released on her own recognizance. Private charities helped her and her children settle in the Somali community in Lewiston, ME.

Ben Ford noticed her case among a list of ILAP asylum seekers. Because of her circumstances, she was seeking defensive asylum. This means that her case would be heard in immigration court by an immigration judge, and argued against by a government attorney. Sara Hirshon helped our client feel comfortable as she recounted her horrific story and assisted Ben at the hearing.

The Immigration judge found our client as credible and adopted her statement as fact. The judge then held that the facts qualified her and her children for asylum in United States. The appeal period for the government attorney lapsed on August 13, making the judge’s decision final.