June 23, 2020 — Hughes Hubbard successfully represented a 38-year-old bisexual Ghanaian man seeking asylum in the U.S. to escape persecution in his native country.

The client, G.G., immigrated to the U.S. in 2005 after fleeing Ghana, where he feared harassment, blackmail, physical assault, or worse because of his sexual orientation. In 2007, G.G. married an American woman, but their marriage fell apart a year later when he revealed to her that he was bisexual.

In response to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' commencement of removal proceedings, G.G. filed for asylum in the U.S. on the basis of his sexual orientation in 2011.

HHR took on the matter in 2012, submitting a letter brief and pre-hearing brief in 2013. In early 2016, following a series of adjournments, the firm submitted a substantially revised asylum brief, along with various procedural motions. HHR represented the client at six individual hearings at Newark Immigration Court, at which it elicited testimony from G.G., two fact witnesses and an expert witness on country conditions in Ghana.

Among other factual and legal challenges, there was no precedent for granting asylum on the basis of bisexuality. In addition, before HHR took on the case, G.G. had missed the "one-year filing deadline" for his asylum application by several years, placing the burden on HHR to demonstrate not only the merits of his application, but also that he qualified for a "changed circumstances" exception to the one-year filing rule. HHR argued, and the Court agreed, that G.G. qualified for both a changed-country-conditions exception and a changed-personal-circumstances exception.

At the close of the sixth individual hearing, in December 2018, Immigration Judge Amit Chugh indicated that he was inclined to grant G.G.'s asylum application. On April 21, 2020, Judge Chugh issued his written decision granting asylum.

Webster McBride and James Henseler represented G.G., under the supervision of Michael Salzman and with the assistance of HHR alums Ramsey Chamie, Ariel Bucher and Casey Duffy at various stages of the eight-year representation.