Hughes Hubbard Wins Asylum for Jamaican Lesbian Couple


News & Events | Pro Bono

Hughes Hubbard attorneys helped secure asylum for a married lesbian couple who fled persecution in their native Jamaica.

In Jamaica, where homosexuality remains a crime punishable by imprisonment, gays and lesbians face daily discrimination and mistreatment.

As a gender nonconforming woman, JP, the principal asylum applicant, had since her childhood endured multiple instances of harassment and physical assault in Jamaica. As she grew older, she struggled to hide her true identity and was forced to leave her home and family and run from one community to another after receiving death threats. She was physically attacked, chased through streets and nearly abducted, just for being perceived as a lesbian.

She and her partner, KP, came to the United States in May 2013 to live openly and freely. In February, they exchanged marriage vows in New York, the same month the case was referred to Hughes Hubbard by Immigration Equality.

The clients were ecstatic to receive the good news and told their attorneys that they finally felt safe and "able to breathe."

After conducting several interviews with the clients, Hughes Hubbard attorneys drafted a lengthy declaration and other supporting documents to submit to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and prepared JP for her asylum interview. USCIS granted asylum to the clients on July 10, 2014.

The clients were ecstatic to receive the good news and told their attorneys that they finally felt safe and "able to breathe." Both clients studied hospitality and tourism in Jamaica and plan to eventually open their own catering and events business, now that they have the chance to live safely in the US.

This victory was especially notable as it was Immigration Equality's first case involving a married lesbian couple seeking asylum. The organization shared the news of the victory on its Facebook page.

Dina Hoffer, Danny Grossman and Chris Perré represented the clients, with supervision from Sarah Cave