Mr. M and Mr. G were granted asylum after suffering a series of brutal attacks because of their sexual orientation.
On May 4, 2017, the USCIS granted asylum to Willkie clients, Mr. M and his husband, Mr. G, who had fled Russia for the United States after suffering a series of brutal attacks because of their sexual orientation. Two of the attacks were so brutal that Mr. M. lost consciousness and all three required hospitalization. On all three occasions the police refused to help Mr. M. and openly swore at him with homophobic slurs. Though seemingly random, these attacks are consistent with an epidemic of similar violence currently plaguing Russia’s LGBT community. For example, before Mr. M and Mr. G fled Russia, the government had enacted an “anti-gay propaganda” law, which allows for the prosecution of those who speak out in support of LGBT rights. Russian police have used this law to crack down on LGBT groups and have given certain groups carte blanche to terrorize LGBT individuals.
Less than a month after arriving in the U.S., Mr. M and Mr. G were married. They sought assistance with their asylum application from Immigration Equality, which referred the case to Willkie.
At the asylum interview, Willkie attorneys argued that Mr. M and Mr. G were entitled to asylum based on their membership in a particular social group that the Russian government refuses to protect from persecution. Mr. M was granted indefinite asylum on May 4, and Mr. G was granted derivative asylum status.
The Willkie team included partner Wes Powell and associates Bill O’Brien, Stephanie Moran, and Elizabeth Dunn. The team also received assistance from associates Bhavna Agnihotri and Bryan Hogg, and discovery attorney Iryna Potekhin.