August 10, 2018 — The firm successfully represented a South American transgender woman who sought asylum in the United States to escape persecution in her native country of Guyana, which criminalizes consensual same-sex activity between men and "cross-dressing."
The client fled to the U.S. on a tourist visa in December 2014. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services granted the client's asylum application on May 23, 2018.
In her home country, the client was physically attacked and persecuted. The police turned a blind eye, harassing, rather than helping her. She also lacked access to good medical care, as hospital nurses taunted and refused to treat her.
Immigration Equality referred the case to HHR in June 2015. HHR worked with the client to compile evidence documenting the mistreatment, discrimination and persecution she experienced before coming to the U.S. HHR also helped the client legally change her name to reflect her identity. Due to a backlog in the asylum office, the client had to wait years for her asylum interview. After a recent policy change, whereby the Newark Asylum Office (like asylum offices throughout the country) began to prioritize recently filed cases over older cases, HHR successfully applied to "shortlist" the client's case.
The client is thrilled after waiting so long and feeling increasing anxiety over the political environment in the U.S. A live-in nanny for a family in New York, she is excited to start her new life in the U.S. without worrying that she may have to return to an anti-LGBT country.
Meaghan Gragg and Sigrid Jernudd represented the client. Firm alums Jason Benton and Stu Mitchell also worked on the matter.