This week, Whitney Tolar and Mona Mujaddidi secured a grant of humanitarian asylum for Venable’s pro bono client, an asylum seeker from Guatemala of indigenous Mayan descent. The client, who faced persistent and systematic sexual and physical violence in her home country because of her race and ethnicity and inclusion in particular social groups, fled to the United States with her children and applied for asylum.
The client’s merits hearing on her asylum application finally went forward in October 2023, nearly 10 years after she came to the United States, after being rescheduled several times over the years due to backlog in the immigration courts. The Venable team prepared a robust pre-hearing brief and a voluminous supporting record and led the presentation of the case during the 3.5-hour culminating hearing. In addition to Ms. Tolar and Ms. Mujaddidi, the Venable team also included Amit Rana, Evelynn Bui, and Daisy Saechao. Venable was supported by Tahirih Justice Center as co-counsel.
At the end of the hearing, the judge issued an order granting humanitarian asylum, which is exceedingly rare, to the client and her three children.