McDermott Team Wins Asylum for Transgender Client from South America - McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Team Wins Asylum for Transgender Client from South America


CHICAGO McDermott Will & Emery recently secured asylum in the US for a pro bono client from South America. The client had originally fled prosecution as a transgender individual to Europe, but after receiving similar treatment there, ultimately sought refuge in the US.

This intermediary relocation to Europe made the case particularly challenging. US immigration laws bar asylum if an applicant has “firmly resettled” in a third country prior to arrival in the US. In the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, if the applicant received an offer of permanent residency, citizenship or some other type of permanent resettlement in the third country, the applicant must show that they fall within an exception to the firm resettlement bar.

In February 2016, the McDermott team successfully argued (1) Department of Homeland Security failed to meet its burden to show an offer of permanent residency, and (2) the client fell squarely within an exception to firm resettlement. McDermott argued that a person seeking asylum in the US cannot be firmly resettled in a country where they continue to face the same persecution as was experienced in the country from which they originally fled.

On October 22, 2018, after an evidentiary hearing, the judge granted asylum for the client in the US, and the government waived its right to appeal.

The McDermott team included Brian Jones, Margaret Duncan, Sheila Prendergast, Thomas DaMario, Amy Mahan with valuable assistance from Joan-Elisse Carpentier, Stefano Mechelli, paralegals Alyse Mauro and Jodi Baker, and administrative assistants Paul Cronin, Kim Meinert and Connie Henry.

About McDermott

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

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