Loeb & Loeb is pleased to announce that two pro bono teams successfully secured asylum for refugees from Gambia and Cameroon in March and April 2023, respectively.
Victim of Disability Discrimination
In the first case, a Loeb pro bono team and a lawyer from Morgan Stanley, in partnership with HIAS, represented a disabled man from Gambia who was seeking asylum due to being born with dwarfism. In his culture, individuals diagnosed with dwarfism are believed to hold certain powers, and as a result are often used to conduct spiritual incantations. Consequently, people with dwarfism experience increased risks, including disappearances and executions.
Our client experienced three separate kidnapping attempts while in Gambia: one in 1999, a second in 2004 and a final in 2016. Although he went to the police, no one was ever arrested in connection with these incidents. Our client remained in Gambia, but continued to fear for his safety. In October 2019, he entered the United States with a valid F-1 visa in order to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. After six months, he was forced to leave his school. He currently resides with family in New York. The Loeb pro bono team assisted the client in filing an asylum application and represented him before the Immigration Court, arguing that our client suffered from past persecution and a fear of future persecution on account of his membership in the particular social group of people with dwarfism in Gambia.
Loeb’s pro bono team was led by associate Alex Inman and partner Ann Chen, with assistance from other Loeb lawyers and staff.
Victim of Political Persecution
In the second case, a Loeb pro bono team partnered with Human Rights First to represent a Cameroonian refugee who first came to the United States more than 10 years ago on a student visa. He sought asylum after learning that he had been specifically identified as a political terrorist by the Cameroonian government as a result of his advocacy and activism for the Anglophone minority in Cameroon. The Loeb team successfully argued that our client had a well-founded fear of future persecution at the hands of the Cameroonian government based on his status as a Cameroonian Anglophone and his political opinion.
Although, prior to the firm’s involvement, our client had filed his application for asylum after the statutory one-year filing deadline, the Loeb pro bono team was able to establish that there was a change in circumstances that materially affected his eligibility for asylum and that he submitted his application within a reasonable period after those changed circumstances. Crediting the firm’s written submissions and advocacy at the immigration hearing, the Immigration Judge granted asylum.
The Loeb pro bono team was led by associate Lily Walden Givens, senior counsel Jill Jones and associate Manish Antani, with support from other Loeb lawyers and staff.
To learn more about the firm's pro bono program, please click here.