Law Office of Thomas K. Brown, LLC

Immigration and Family Law in Maryland

Somali’s “Back Door” Into US

MSNBC has an interesting article here on the dangerous and circuitous path Solamis take seeking asylum in the US.

January 2nd, 2010 Posted by | asylum | no comments

Baltimore Sun: A Successful Gang Membership Asylum Case

I forgot to post this Baltimore Sun article a couple weeks ago.  It tells the tale of a child who won his asylum claim based on a theory of gang violence as persecution for membership in a social group.  The article correctly points out that under US immigration law, asylum is possible where someone has experienced persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution based on 5 particular grounds: (1) race; (2) religion; (3) nationality; (4) political opinion; or (5) membership in a social group.  That’s it.  Traditionally, being the target of gang violence didn’t fit squarely in any of these categories, and therefore such claims would fail.  It seems in this case, Judge Williams of the Baltimore Immigration Court was persuaded otherwise.

The other half of the asylum test is that the persecution must be at the hands of the government or forces that the government is unable or unwilling to control.  I’m guessing rampant gang activity is the latter.  I’ve had the good fortune of being before Judge Williams and I hope other courts will be persuaded by the profound wisdom he demonstrated in this case.

October 6th, 2009 Posted by | asylum | no comments

Domestic Violence & Asylum

Over at the Family Law Prof Blog, the editors have posted a piece about the convoluted Matter of R.A. case where a victim of domestic violence was granted asylum in the U.S. over a decade ago, and the case has worked its way around the BIA and AG’s office ever since. Normally, asylum claims require some showing of government action.  In this case, it’s more government inaction, but that amounts to the same thing in my opinion.

Here’s the link.

October 7th, 2008 Posted by | asylum | no comments

The Horror: I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Processing Times

Yesterday I received the happy news that a client for whom I prepared an affirmative asylum application had indeed been granted asylum.  One of the many next steps is to bring my client’s minor child into the US, a feat accomplished by filing a single 2-page form – the I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition.  To my shock, I found the processing times for such applications at the Texas Service Center run nearly a year.  This is outrageous for a number of reasons.  The context of such an application is asylum or refugee status, obviously, meaning there’s something pretty serious going on back home.  If there wasn’t, there sure wouldn’t have been a grant of asylum.  How can it serve the purpose of our system of asylum law to leave family members entitled to derivative status dangling in harms way for a year?  One of the key policy goals of our immigration laws is family unity.  The entire family-based petition process is based on degrees of blood relations and affinity, with dramatic lines cut around the minority status of children.  There could not be a more vulnerable class of derivatives than the minor child of an asylee.  The service’s apparent acceptance of processing times of nearly a year is nothing short of irresponsible.

October 2nd, 2008 Posted by | asylum | 2 comments