Willkie Wins Asylum for Mother and Two Children from Honduras

January 3, 2022

At an Immigration Court hearing on December 16, Immigration Judge James M. McCarthy granted Willkie’s applications for asylum on behalf of clients Ms. C, her thirteen-year-old daughter, and her seven-year-old son.

Willkie partnered with Human Rights First on an asylum case involving our clients, a mother and two children from Honduras. At an Immigration Court hearing on December 16, 2021, Judge James M. McCarthy granted Willkie’s applications for asylum on behalf of our clients.

This victory was the culmination of over five years of dedicated work by Willkie attorneys and paralegals on behalf of our clients.

Willkie’s victory is especially noteworthy as the case is somewhat of a bellwether for the asylum landscape after Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated the Matter of A-B- decision in June 2021. Matter of A-B- was a 2018 decision by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he reversed a grant of asylum to a Salvadoran woman and issued a sweeping opinion reversing national precedent and stating that claims pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-state actors would generally not qualify for asylum. Our client’s merits hearing was initially scheduled for July 2020, and given that our clients’ claims were based on domestic violence and gang violence, our clients likely would have been denied asylum under Matter of A-B-. However, by filing a motion to continue our clients’ hearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Willkie was able to postpone their case long enough for Matter of A-B- to be vacated, giving their claim new hope.

The Willkie team consisted of senior counsel Richard Mancino, partner Neesa Patel Sood, associates Gabrielle Antonello, Michelle Polizzano, Melissa Colón, and Nicholas Conlon, and paralegal Yudelka Peralta.

Willkie is currently representing over 15 other clients and their families, who were referred to Willkie through Human Rights First, with seeking legal status in the United States.