Taft Earns Asylum Victory for Pro Bono Client

On April 10, a team comprising Taft attorneys and an Indiana University Maurer School of Law student extern, with support by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), represented a Haitian client and her child in a contested asylum merits hearing before the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court. The client had fled Haiti after suffering severe physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of a violent gang leader. Following the contested hearing, the court entered an order granting asylum to both clients.

Taft Indianapolis attorneys Jason Covert and Christine Walsh, Chicago attorney Liliana Jiménez, and IU Maurer Law student Tianyuan Shu represented the clients pro bono, along with substantial assistance from attorneys and staff at NIJC. The pro bono representation was undertaken through a new collaborative project involving Taft, IU Maurer Law, and NIJC. The project seeks to expand pro bono immigration representation for Indiana residents by having IU Maurer Law students earn academic credit by working on pro bono asylum matters under the supervision of attorneys at Taft and NIJC.

This hard-won victory of asylum is especially noteworthy given a recently issued report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyzing data from matters resolved in Immigration Court. The CRS report examined the case outcomes for individuals in removal proceedings, such as Taft’s client, for fiscal year 2023. The report found that of the 492,981 case decisions in such matters, fewer than 10% ended with the individual obtaining a grant of asylum.

To learn more about IU Maurer Law’s public service externship opportunities, visit here. To learn more about NIJC’s mission, visit here.

Covert is a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial attorney. He is a partner in Taft’s Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practice. Walsh is an associate in Taft’s Litigation and Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practices. She represents individuals and entities in a variety of complex litigation matters. Jiménez is a transactional attorney who focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions. She also has experience in gaming regulatory law.

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