May 28, 2014
On May 28, 2014, Gibson Dunn was awarded Immigration Equality’s annual Safe Haven Award, which recognizes the law firm that has excelled in its legal representation of pro bono clients over the past year. Immigration Equality works with gay, lesbian, bisexual and HIV-positive asylum seekers throughout the United States. Since September 2013, Gibson Dunn has worked on Immigration Equality matters in many of our domestic offices including: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York.
The firm is proud of the work we have been able to do serving these clients. And, we are grateful to have already secured asylum for several of our clients. A few examples of these matters are included below.
New York partner Joel Cohen and New York associate Jonathan Seibald recently secured asylum for a Jamaican client who had received death threats based on his sexual orientation. In 2013, after it became public in his hometown that the client had been expelled from theological college because he was gay, he began receiving numerous death threats from relatives and other members of his community. Our client was forced to flee his hometown, living for short periods of time with friends throughout Jamaica while attempting to avoid his relatives discovering his location. Eventually, our client decided to flee to the United States. Gibson Dunn applied for asylum on his behalf and represented him in an asylum interview before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). On July 22, 2014, USCIS granted our client asylum, permitting him to live and work legally in the United States.
In addition, Gibson Dunn recently aided the petition for political asylum filed by a 23 year old male from the Dominican Republic. Our client suffered from discriminatory treatment and abuse due to widespread intolerance of gays in the Dominican Republic. Despite not speaking any English, he fled for the United States in February 2012. After arriving, our client began to suffer from severe physical and mental health disorders, which caused him to miss the 1 year filing deadline for asylum claims. Nonetheless, after Gibson Dunn quickly assembled and submitted the required materials, the Asylum office determined that our client qualified for the extraordinary circumstances exception to the 1 year filing deadline, and granted our client asylum. He is currently employed, and enrolled in ESL classes, with an aim to integrate fully into American society. Immigration Equality referred this client to Gibson Dunn. The client was represented by Nader James Khorassani, with supervision by Georgia Winston.