Pro Bono Client Wins Asylum; Avoids Threat of Repeated FGM

December 3, 2007

Cleary Gottlieb won asylum for pro bono client Ms. B. on December 3 before an immigration judge in New York. Ms. B. is a twenty-year-old native of Côte d’Ivoire who was subjected to female genital mutilation when she was six years old. Because the procedure was not completed, the client stood the chance of suffering a repeated FGM, and her claim was therefore based on both past persecution and likelihood of future persecution.

Ms. B. fled Côte d’Ivoire for the United States in 2001 and applied for asylum in 2006, in violation of the rule that she apply for asylum within a year of her arrival in the United States. The attorney representing the Department of Homeland Security, however, upon hearing witness testimony regarding the likelihood of repeated FGM and the psychological impact of the client’s prior experiences in Côte d’Ivoire, made a recommendation for a full grant of asylum. The immigration judge agreed with that recommendation, and the final order for asylum was signed the same day.