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Asylum and Other Immigration

Continued Victory for the ACLU

Fried Frank won summary judgment on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in September 2013 in a suit against the US Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeking information on immigrants detained for prolonged periods of time. The government seeks to stay enforcement of that order, and/or relief from the judgment, but the court ruled again in favor of the ACLU.

Again ordering that documents be produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request first filed in 2009, on December 30, 2013, Southern District Judge Richard Berman rejected the government's motion to reconsider a denial of its motion for a stay pending appeal of a September decision ordering the government to begin production of the related documents. The matter has been covered by the New York Law Journal, among others.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Asylum Victory for Fried Frank Client

After litigating the case for eight years, Fried Frank prevailed on a claim for political asylum made by a man from Mauritania. Mr. L’s claim stemmed from his refusal to participate in a staged demonstration in favor of the dictatorial White Moor government, and subsequent arrest and torture. He fled from Mauritania in 2005, and Human Rights First referred his case to the Firm. Mr. L’s case suffered from unusual scheduling delays, including a six-month hiatus between his direct and cross examination testimony at his merits hearing. After the full hearing, the Immigration Judge denied his claim in 2010 despite his clear and consistent testimony which was corroborated by several witness affidavits and extrinsic documentary evidence including a police bulletin proving that he was a wanted man in Mauritania. Fried Frank appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reversed in part and remanded the case earlier this year. After extensive post-remand briefing and the submission of additional evidence, the Immigration Judge entered a final grant of asylum last week. Mr. L., who told us he had “lost hope,” is thrilled with the result. He is now able to stay in the United States, and looks forward to reuniting with his wife and children when they come from Mauritania to join him.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Significant District Court Victory on Behalf of ACLU

Fried Frank represented the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in achieving a significant litigation victory under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In June 2011, Fried Frank filed a complaint on the ACLU’s behalf against the US Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (collectively, ICE) regarding FOIA requests by the ACLU seeking information regarding immigration detention and ICE’s compliance with regulations that govern such detention. In September 2012, the ACLU and ICE entered a partial settlement with respect to the ACLU’s FOIA requests with ICE agreeing to make  certain disclosures. Also under that partial settlement, both sides agreed to  contest via summary judgment whether ICE was entitled, under four specific FOIA  exemptions, to 34 claimed redactions contained in a sample post-order custody  review file.  On September 9, District Court Judge Richard Berman ruled entirely for the ACLU and held that ICE was entitled to none of the exemptions it claimed and that it could not make any of the 34 redactions in its future production to the ACLU.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Asylum Victory for Immigration Client From Honduras

Fried Frank received a grant of asylum for Mr. H, a gay man from Honduras who came to the United States four years ago to escape the brutal attacks he had faced from family members beginning when he was a young teen because of his sexual orientation. When he first learned about the possibility of asylum, the one year filing deadline had already passed and he was unable to find a lawyer to take on his case. Last September, he learned the unfortunate news that he has HIV. Mr. H realized that returning to Honduras as a gay man who is also HIV positive would be extremely dangerous, since Honduras is now the most violent country in the world. Violence is routinely perpetrated there against the gay and lesbian population, including by the police.  Because his HIV diagnosis provided a possible exception to the one year filing deadline, Fried Frank lawyers accepted the case on referral from the Whitman Walker Health Center. The Fried Frank team collected medical records, obtained a psychological evaluation, and compiled extensive country conditions evidence.  At the interview, they argued that Mr. H had timely applied for asylum based on an exception to the deadline, and that he would likely be persecuted with impunity by family members, other citizens and government actors based on his membership in a particular social group if forced to return to Honduras.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Douglas W. Baruch and Karen T. Grisez

Asylum Victory for Fried Frank Immigration Client

Fried Frank secured asylum for Mr. A, a Haitian citizen who came to the United States in 2011 to escape the violence and persecution he faced for having expressed his political opinions against the then-government of Haiti. Mr. A is a 34-year-old father of two from Les Cayes, Haiti who hosted a political radio show on which he regularly expressed his negative political opinions about the government and encouraged listeners to call in and express their opinions about the then-upcoming 2010 elections. As a result, Mr. A was harassed, physically attacked outside the radio station and beaten by Haitian government actors who threatened to kill him. Fearing for his life, Mr. A fled Haiti, where the political situation has been chronically unstable since the January 2010 earthquake. He was detained and placed in removal proceedings. Mr. A sought help with Human Rights First, who referred him to Fried Frank as part of the Firm's ongoing partnership and commitment to political asylum work. Mr. A and Fried Frank proved that Mr. A has a well-founded fear of future persecution if forced to return to Haiti. On March 28, 2013, after a merits hearing and post-hearing briefing, Judge Alan A. Vomacka granted Mr. A asylum.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Appellate Victory in Asylum Case

The Firm scored a major victory by winning a reversal from the Board of Immigration Appeals from a denial of asylum for client NK. Ms. K is from Uzbekistan, where she was twice detained by Presidential Guard security forces who tortured and repeatedly raped her for having demonstrated for a democratic government to replace the authoritarian president Islom Karimov, who has ruled brutally since 1990, and speaking out for women who were domestic violence victims. Ms. K fled to the US, but failed to apply for asylum within one year of the expiration of her visa, as required.  At trial, Ms. K demonstrated that she suffered from PTSD due to the torture she was subjected to, through testimony from three experts. The Immigration Judge found that Ms. K's testimony about the torture she suffered was credible, and awarded her relief from removal under the Convention Against Torture, but denied her application for political asylum because she failed to meet the one-year deadline and had not proven a reasonable excuse for failure to file. This meant that Ms. K could never petition for her husband to stay in the US, and could never obtain lawful permanent residency or become a US citizen. We immediately appealed to the BIA. Ms. K and her husband, a fellow Uzbek, had two children.

Three weeks ago, five Immigration Customs Enforcement agents came to Ms. K's apartment in Brooklyn at 6:00 a.m., intending to arrest her husband for being out of lawful status, and remove him to Uzbekistan. Ms. K managed to stave them off, showing her documents that made clear that she had an appeal pending and that once she won it, she would be able to file an application for her husband.  The ICE agent in charge then talked to Ms. K's Fried Frank attorney, and decided that he would wait for the appeal to be decided before proceeding against Ms. K's husband.

On January 15, 2013, the BIA reversed the Immigration Judge. On appeal, Fried Frank successfully argued that the Immigration Judge had committed clear error when he held that Ms. K did not suffer from PTSD, because that finding had no evidentiary basis.  Further, the BIA held that Ms. K had demonstrated that her PTSD was a legally sufficient excuse for failure to file.  The panel of three BIA judges sent the case back to Immigration Court for the IJ to enter a grant of asylum once Ms. K passes security clearances. She can immediately apply for her husband to obtain derivative asylum status, and after one year they can both seek lawful permanent residency.  Ms. K, a graduate of Westminster University in Tashkent, intends to go to medical school.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Asylum Victory for Immigration Client From Honduras

In May 2012, Fried Frank secured a recommendation for a grant of asylum for Mr. J, a Honduran citizen who came to the United States several years ago to escape the violence and persecution he faced as a gay man.  Since his arrival to the United States he has lived openly and safely, but unfortunately contracted HIV.  Being gay and HIV positive, Mr. J realized that a return to Honduras would be extremely dangerous.  Following a 2009 coup in Honduras, the country has become statistically the most violent country in the world, and violence is routinely perpetrated against the gay and lesbian population, including by the police.  Mr. J sought help from Immigration Equality, which referred him to Fried Frank as part of the Firm's ongoing partnership and commitment to pro bono work.  The Fried Frank team was able to persuade the Asylum Office that Mr. J was more likely to be persecuted with impunity by both regular citizens and government actors if forced to return to Honduras, and that his well-founded fear for his life qualified him for a waiver of the normal one-year filing deadline for asylum applications.  On May 7, 2012, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recommended Mr. J for asylum, which will become final when his background check clears.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Fried Frank Files Amicus Briefs in Pivotal Arizona Immigration Case

On March 26, 2012, Fried Frank filed two important amicus briefs in Arizona v. United States, the case involving the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration law, pending in the United States Supreme Court.

One of the briefs was submitted on behalf of 68 Members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and civil rights icon John Lewis, as well as the chairpersons of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. The brief argues that the four provisions of the law enjoined by the lower courts are unconstitutional under the judicial doctrine of preemption because they conflict directly with the enactments and intent of Congress on vital issues of national interest. These issues, on which Congress has long made its voice clear, include when and how states and localities may enforce federal immigration laws, what penalties should be assessed for unlawful presence in the United States, and whether undocumented immigrants can be prosecuted simply for seeking or performing work.

The Firm also submitted a brief on behalf of the American Bar Association, which likewise urged the Court to rule that immigration policy and enforcement must remain federal, with states having no role except with federal authorization and oversight. The ABA's brief and its underlying policy are based in large part on the practical experience of the ABA Commission on Immigration in operating pro bono programs for immigration detainees around the country, and its conclusions in the commission's 2010 study, "Reforming the Immigration Removal Adjudications System." With several other states either having already passed or contemplating their own immigration laws, the ABA warned of a potential patchwork of statutes and regulations under which enforcement outcomes could depend on whether federal or state authorities or some combination of the two were conducting the activity and whether they were applying federal or possibly unique, state immigration laws. 

The US Supreme Court will hear the case on April 25, 2012. Working on the congressional brief were litigation partner Michael de Leeuw; litigation special counsel Jennifer Colyer; litigation associates Brian Fischkin, David Gartenberg, Maribel Hernández Rivera, Veronica Joice and Karen Soares; and litigation paralegal Filipina Balahadia. 

Working on the ABA brief were litigation partner Douglas Baruch; litigation special counsel Karen Grisez; securities enforcement associate Natalie Shioji and paralegal Coleman Hinnant.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Douglas W. Baruch, Jennifer L. Colyer and Karen T. Grisez

Alabama immigration law amici curiae

In November 2011, the Firm represented 39 Congressional Representatives as amici curiae to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in two cases challenging H.B. 56, the Alabama law regulating immigration. Among other things, H.B. 56 makes it a state crime to be an immigrant out of lawful status in Alabama, makes it unlawful for an out-of-status immigrant to contract with other private parties, and requires public schools to check the immigration status of students and their parents. Failure to enforce the law carries criminal penalties for Alabama officials. The Alabama agricultural industry estimates that the law has cost the state over US$40m so far in lost crops, because agricultural workers have fled the state in droves. These two facial challenges (United States of America v. Alabama, and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Governor of Alabama) contend that various provisions of the law are preempted by federal law and otherwise violate various provisions of the federal Constitution.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Fried Frank Wins Asylum for Ethiopian Man Facing Political Persecution

After a week and a half of intense effort, Fried Frank won a grant of asylum for our client, a 23-year-old Ethiopian man who had been arrested, imprisoned and tortured when he was only 17 years old due to his involvement in campaign activities on behalf of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy in the run-up to the 2005 elections. He had fled Ethiopia in 2005, tried unsuccessfully to settle in South Africa and in 2010 embarked on a very circuitous route to the US. He presented himself at the port of entry in Texas and asked for asylum. After nearly five months in detention waiting for his hearing, the client was granted asylum and was released from immigration detention on Friday, July 15. Fried Frank accepted the case through its summer associate partnership with ProBAR, the Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, in Harlingen, Texas.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Karen T. Grisez

Fried Frank Wins Asylum for a Gay Woman from Germany

On June 28, 2011, the Firm won a final grant of asylum for Ms. S, a gay woman from Germany. Ms. S arrived in the United States in 1998 after fleeing homophobic persecution in southern Germany, where police put her name on a "pink list," used to track gays and lesbians, and repeatedly searched her apartment and detained her without charges due to her sexual orientation. Ms. S suffered from deep depression and post-traumatic stress from her persecution at the hands of the police, and after she arrived in the US she lived a marginal life in hiding for over a decade.

In 2009, Ms. S was detained in a bus station in Florida by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who barred the doors and demanded proof of immigration status from those present. Congressman Jerry Nadler was instrumental in getting Ms. S released from detention in Florida. Although Ms. S did not seek asylum within one year of her arrival as is required, the Immigration Judge credited compelling testimony from Ms. S's treating psychologist, who is a trauma specialist, that established that her mental state effectively prevented her from coming out of the shadows and seeking asylum protection before she entered psychiatric treatment. The Fried Frank team was thus able to prove that extraordinary circumstances prevented timely filing.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer and Thorsten H. Stuecklin

Fried Frank Wins Pro Bono Immigration Case

Fried Frank won cancellation of removal for client Carlos E., who was referred to the Firm by the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project in 2007.  A native of Guatemala, Carlos came to the United States with his mother when he was 13 years old, and they have lived in Far Rockaway, Queens ever since.  Although his mother became involved with and eventually married a man who is a U.S. citizen, the marriage came too late for Carlos to be considered his "stepchild" for immigration purposes.  Carlos had a daughter of his own in 2001, and when he and the child's mother separated, he had sole custody of the girl and lived with her and his parents in their apartment in Far Rockaway.  Then, Carlos was put into removal proceedings.  Fried Frank lawyers convinced the Immigration Judge that Carlos' U.S. citizen daughter would face an "extraordinary and extremely unusual hardship" if Carlos were to be deported.  "Cancellation of removal" means that Carlos will be issued a "green card", and have the status of Lawful Permanent Resident in the US. 



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Grant of Asylum for Human Rights Worker

Fried Frank won a final grant of asylum for client CMW, a young woman from Cameroon who pursued a career working for human rights for women and for reproductive freedom in her native Cameroon, on February 2, 2011. Ms. W. followed in her mother's footsteps in seeking to educate Cameroonian girls and women about the harm of the traditional cultural practices of breast ironing, FGM and ritual cutting that are used to prepare girls and young women for marriage.  Ms. W.'s work angered local tribal leaders, but she eventually got a position working for the UN in Yaounde, Cameroon, helping to adminster a program that supplied people with HIV/AIDS and their families with medicine and school supplies.  When she discovered that the government official who was running the project was embezzling funds, Ms. W. reported him to the UN.  Eventually he was fired and afterward he sent thugs who tried to abduct Ms. W. to punish her for exposing him.  Ms. W.'s family has faced repeated violence from these men, and has also faced severe punishment from tribal officials who disapprove of Ms. W.'s work, including burning down the family house.  Ms. W.'s case faced a significant legal hurdle in that she did not apply for asylum within one year of entry, and therefore was subject to a bar to that relief.  The Fried Frank team put on evidence that she suffered from PTSD and depression after she fled to the US alone and spent a year in and out of homelessness, often sleeping in City Hall Park.  Now that Ms. W. has asylum status, she intends to continue her education and pursue her human rights work here. 



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties, Inc.

Fried Frank successfully advocated on behalf of immigrant communities in New Jersey and protected access to housing for undocumented persons. The Firm, along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other leading civil rights organizations, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, CATA The Farmworkers’ Support Committee, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey in Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties, Inc., No. 08-2753 (D.N.J.). This test case was brought by anti-immigrant groups, pursuant to the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), seeking to impose criminal penalties for harboring undocumented persons on landlords who lease apartments to undocumented immigrants. The amicus brief urged the Court to dismiss the harboring claim because renting apartments to tenants regardless of their immigration status does not contravene federal or state laws, and landlords are not trained or qualified to conduct immigration status determinations. Last Wednesday, the Court dismissed the harboring claim. Adopting many of the arguments raised in the amicus brief, the Court found that renting apartments to undocumented persons with the purpose of making a profit does not violate the anti-smuggling laws. This outcome will have a direct impact on protecting access to housing in immigrant communities across the country.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Janice Mac Avoy

Asylum Win

Firm client O.K. was granted asylum on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 despite vigorous opposition from the US Government. Mr. K is from Chad, where he was a reporter for the Chadian League of Human Rights. His uncle, a prominent former military officer who had served in the current government's ministry, joined the rebellion on the border of Chad and the Sudan in late 2007. Mr. K had lived with his uncle and was suspected by the current President Deby of collaborating with the rebellion and of harboring knowledge of the rebels' future plans. He was also pursued by the government for publicizing human rights abuses in connection with politically motivated disappearances, torture, and public corruption. After he was detained and tortured more than once, Mr. K went into hiding and his brother was killed by security forces searching for him. In addition, his mother and girlfriend were raped and beaten by officers seeking Mr. K. Mr. K fled Chad in December 2007 and was referred to the Firm by Human Rights First last summer.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Final Victory In Asylum Matter 

Firm client Mr. H. was granted asylum on Friday, March 27, 2009 in Immigration Court in Harlingen, Texas. We represented Mr. H. through our summer associate externship program with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR). He is a Somali citizen and minority clan member whose family was attacked when majority clan-led rebels in the civil war in 1991 suspected that they had supported the deposed President. Mr. H. was an 11-year-old child at the time, and was beaten and tortured with a red hot knife during the attack. He also witnessed the murder of his nine-year-old brother whose head was deliberately run over with a truck by the rebels. The same attackers also attempted to learn the whereabouts of the boys' father. The family's land and home were confiscated, and they fled to a refugee camp in Kenya where our client remained for several years.

When Mr. H. arrived in the United States in March 2008 and asked for political asylum, he was detained without bond. Our summer associates worked on Mr. H.'s original trial, which took place in July and September 2008. The Immigration Judge (IJ) found our client credible and held that he had suffered past persecution, but nevertheless initially denied asylum. We appealed, arguing that the IJ had committed a clear error of law in concluding that clan membership had not played any role in the client's persecution. The Board of Immigration Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the IJ. On rehearing last Friday, the IJ granted asylum, and Mr. H. was released after spending a full year in detention.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer and Karen T. Grisez

Fried, Frank, the ACLU and MALDEF Support Immigrants' Right to Housing

Fried Frank, along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of New Jersey, and the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice filed an amicus curiae brief in Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties, Inc., No. 08-2753 (D.N.J.). This case, filed by the Immigration Reform Law Institute – an organization that has sponsored anti-immigrant municipal housing ordinances throughout the country – alleges that by renting apartments to undocumented immigrants, landlords are in violation of federal statutes which impose criminal penalties for harboring undocumented persons. The amicus brief urges the court to reject the claims presented, arguing that a determination in plaintiffs’ favor will impermissibly require landlords to engage in immigration status determinations, and will inevitably result in unlawful discrimination against immigrants, including U.S. citizens and lawful residents. The amicus brief was filed on behalf of leading organizations that represent the interests of, and provide services to, immigrant communities in New Jersey, including: the New Jersey Institution for Social Justice, the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, CATA – The Farmworkers’ Support Committee, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Janice Mac Avoy

Successful Adoption Under Hague Convention

Fried Frank achieved a victory in a highly public and time-sensitive pro bono adoption case involving the Department of Homeland Security's first-ever Latvian adoption case under the new Hague Convention.  Craig Michael Price and Robert E. Juceam, along with Luz Mendez of Senator Hillary Clinton's Office, Latvian counsel and others, developed the supporting facts and other documentation necessary to secure the approval of the Department of Homeland Security, senior Washington officials and State Department personnel in Latvia, as well as the Latvian Ministry of Child Welfare, to the intrafamily adoption of a 12-year-old in Riga, Latvia.  The case was complicated by a client who had been falsely arrested in Mexico on charges of illegally possessing antiquities, as well as a host of other difficulties.  Due to the efforts of the Fried Frank team and others, the necessary paperwork was finished just an hour before the last scheduled Latvian court date at which that adoption could be heard to ensure that the child would be in the US before school starts in September. 



Attorneys working on this matter:
Robert E. Juceam

Fried Frank Defends the Rights of Individual Holders of the Elm City Resident Card

Fried Frank successfully defended, on a pro bono basis, the rights of individual holders of the Elm City Resident Card in proceedings before the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. The Elm City Resident Card is a municipal identification program implemented to increase public safety and access to local services in New Haven, Connecticut. All New Haven residents are eligible to apply for the Card regardless of their immigration status. Opponents of the identification program and anti-immigrant groups sought to obtain the names, addresses and photographs of all applicants for the identification card to help militant vigilantes identify, target and "hunt down" cardholders, particularly immigrants. Fried Frank represented the Association of Cardholders of the Elm City Resident Card; Unidad Latina en Acción, a grassroots community organization; and a class of cardholders who wished to maintain the confidentiality of their personal identifying information to avoid harassment and violence. The successful defense of the identification program will have a direct impact on the implementation of similar identification programs in cities across the country, including San Francisco, New York and Miami.


Grant of Asylum for Nepalese Family

Fried Frank received a grant of asylum in June 2007 for Mr. P and his family, who are from Nepal. Mr. P was a police officer in Nepal and was assigned to work in districts with heavy Maoist activity. The Maoists warned him to quit his job and join their cause, and when he refused, they confiscated his family's home, land and animals, forcing his wife and sons to move to the capitol. Under continuing Maoist threats to his family member's lives, Mr. P resigned from his job with the police. That did not stop the threats, and eventually Mr. P fled to the US and his wife and sons followed.

Mr. P's affirmative application for asylum was granted for him, and for his wife and sons.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Grant of Asylum for Senegalese Woman

Fried Frank won a final grant of asylum in June 2007 for a woman from Senegal.

Ms. T is from the Casamance region of Senegal, where a civil war has been ongoing for decades. Ms. T was involved with a charity for children orphaned by the war, which the government suspected aided the rebels. She was arrested for her activity with the charity and suffered from multiple rapes at the time of her arrest and during her six month detention. In addition to her political persecution claim, Ms. T was a victim of gender persecution, having been subjected to female circumcision (FGM) at the age of eight. When she arrived in the United States, Ms. T suffered from tuberculosis that she contracted in the Senegalese jail. Due to that and due to post traumatic stress, Ms. T failed to file her asylum application within one year of entering the US, and was therefore subject to the one year bar to asylum relief.

The court granted asylum on the gender persecution claim, which was proved by a medical report and by her testimony, and excused the one year deadline bar based on evidence of her hospitalization and treatment for TB. The government waived appeal.

Summer associates Mildred Yi and Yeeta Yeger and legal assistant Stella Drevina assisted on the case.



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

Immigration Proceedings 

Fried Frank has a deep commitment to aiding groups and individuals in a number of areas related to immigration.  The Firm has represented unaccompanied alien children in their efforts to attain Special Immigrant Juvenile status or other relief in Immigration Court, as well as women who seek lawful permanent status under the Violence Against Women Act.  The Firm also has worked to assess conditions at immigration detention facilities and has assisted with immigration proceedings for clients detained at the Texas border.


Representation and Advocacy for Immigration Detainees 

In 2000, as a result of negotiations between the American Bar Association (ABA), the United States Department of Justice and other organizations involved in pro bono representation and advocacy for immigration detainees, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (now the US Citizenship and Immigration Services) established detention standards to ensure the "safe, secure and humane treatment" of immigration detainees. 

These comprehensive standards (which took effect in January of 2001) encompass a range of issues, including access to legal services and materials, visitation, telephone access, medical treatment and group presentations on legal rights. At the request of the ABA, a delegation of Fried Frank New York attorneys conducted inspections and interviews at the Queens Detention Center and prepared a report summarizing and evaluating the information gathered during the visit.

The delegation who recently visited the Elizabeth, New Jersey Detention Center included, Firm chairperson Valerie Ford Jacob and Managing Partner Justin Spendlove.


The Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) 

The Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), a joint project of the American Bar Association (ABA), the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, represents detained immigrants, including asylum seekers, in the Harlingen, Texas Immigration Court. Each summer, volunteer attorneys from various firms, schools and other organizations take part in the ProBAR project and provide representation for these immigrants. In 2003, Fried Frank began what is expected to be a long-term involvement with ProBAR, and in 2006 a team of four associates from the Firm's Washington D.C. and New York offices participated in the ProBAR project.  The learn more about the Firm's experiences with ProBAR, please read special counsel Karen Grisez's article and summer associate Kimberly Cain's letter to the editor, both published in Legal Times



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer and Karen T. Grisez

Immigration-Related Organizations

Fried Frank acts in support of a number of other immigration-related organizations as well.  Our Washington D.C. office serves as General Counsel to the Capital Area Immigrant's Rights Coalition, a non-profit organization focused on providing legal information and representation to detained immigrants.  Firm members also serve on the Advisory Committee to the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration, and are involved with the Immigration Litigation Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation, the American Immigration Law Foundation, American Immigration Law Foundation's Board of Governors and Board of Trustees and the Immigration and Nationality Committee of the New York City Bar Association in various, high-level capacities. 



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer, Karen T. Grisez and Robert E. Juceam

National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children 

Working in conjunction with the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children (started by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie), Fried Frank represents unaccompanied minors in their quest to attain Special Immigrant Juvenile status.  These refugees fled their home countries due to abuse or neglect, and the Firm currently represents children native to both Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Guinea.


The Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) permits immigrants who are married to abusive U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to petition for their own green card, rather than relying on the abusive spouse in order to obtain one.  In accordance with VAWA, Fried Frank represents women seeking to self-petition for Lawful Permanent Residence Status. 


Refuge from Persecution 

Fried Frank has a long-standing commitment to helping individuals seeking refuge from persecution, and immigrants struggling to create new lives for themselves.  The Firm works in conjunction with organizations such as Human Rights First, the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, the New York City Bar Justice Center and Gay Men's Health Crisis.  These organizations screen potential asylum seekers and, following a series of interviews, refer potential candidates for legal assistance. 

Upon referral, the Firm aids these individuals on a pro bono basis in order help them navigate the intricacies of the legal process, and has successfully represented refugees from a variety of nations including Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mauritania, Pakistan and Nepal Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Pakistan and Nepal 


Grant of Asylum

In 2006 the Firm won a grant of asylum for a Nepalese woman who had been kidnapped by guerrillas associated with the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. 



Attorneys working on this matter:
Jennifer L. Colyer

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