Cleary Gottlieb Pro Bono Team Mobilizes Against Immigration Executive Order

February 22, 2017

Over the past few weeks, Cleary Gottlieb’s pro bono representation of clients affected by the Trump administration’s recent immigration order has garnered significant media attention.

More than 100 Cleary Gottlieb lawyers in New York and Washington, D.C. mobilized to airports along with nonprofit legal services organizations and lawyers nationwide to assist those affected by the executive order travel ban. Throughout the night on Saturday January 28, Cleary lawyers, led by Jennifer Kroman, filed four habeas petitions on behalf of individuals who were who were detained or removed due to the order, which affected, among other people, nonimmigrant visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Three of our clients were released throughout the day on Sunday, but one, Dr. Suha Abushamma, a resident at the Cleveland Clinic in internal medicine who held a Sudanese passport, was wrongfully returned to Saudi Arabia where she had been visiting family.

The pro bono team working on behalf of Dr. Abushamma filed an amended habeas petition and filed for a preliminary injunction in the Eastern District of New York seeking the return of Dr. Abushamma. The petition alleged, among other things, that Dr. Abushamma was detained for more than eight hours without access to legal representation and was coerced into signing a form that purportedly cancelled her H-1B visa. The papers also alleged that Dr. Abushamma asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow her to wait to hear the results of a hearing in federal court to stay the executive order, but her request was denied and she was wrongfully removed to Saudi Arabia in violation of the stay that was issued by the Eastern District of New York prior to her removal.

Thanks to the tireless work of the Cleary team, along with the Cleveland Clinic legal team and immigration counsel, Dr. Abushamma was returned to the U.S. on February 6, 2017, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The articles below feature Cleary’s pro bono work related to the travel ban executive order: