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U.S. Immigration court grants asylum to an Ethiopian refugee in Sutherland pro bono matter.


After three years of uncertainty, a pro bono client of Sutherland’s received asylum from the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, Va. The case began in 2008, when the government of Ethiopia deemed the man a threat because of his ethnicity and his promotion of a pro-democracy agenda. He endured harassment, beatings and jail before using an existing visa to come to the United States. Upon his arrival in Washington, D.C., he filed for asylum protection from the federal government.

When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied his initial application, the nonprofit organization Catholic Charities referred the case to Sutherland. After two years of delays, the U.S. government trial attorney reviewed the evidence and decided not to contest the case further. Judge Thomas G. Snow concurred and officially granted asylum in 2011. “Although the client cannot return to his home country, he looks forward to building a life here, finally free from fear of future persecution,” said Partner Daniel E. Frank, who led the team. Counsel James J. Briody, Associate Jennifer J. Kubicek and Senior Paralegal Caroline R. Smith assisted with the case.

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