HRI is proud to announce that we have successfully represented a case and helped a victim of torture gain legal status in the United States. Our client, Mikael*, represents many of the LGBT refugees and asylum seekers that flee their home countries due to persecution. Homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries but the persecution of the LGBT community is rampant worldwide. HRI is happy to help Mikael, a dynamic individual, into the United States, where he should be free from further abuse.
Mikael, came to HRI with a bruised ego and torn heart. As an El Salvadorian national, he escaped to the US because of the persecution he suffered due to his sexual orientation. Before entering the US, Mikael led a double life, forced to hide his homosexuality for fear of violence and humiliation. Once his sexuality was discovered, the government abducted and assaulted him physically, sexually, and verbally. Now he has been granted “withholding of removal,” which grants him legal status to work and live safely in the United States. Mikael is overjoyed that he will not have to return to a life of degradation and violence.
HRI’s Asylum Attorney and pro bono Attorneys, Sarah Mitchell, Demi Williams, and Beth Lloyd, from the Law Firm of Vinson & Elkins, LLP, worked tirelessly on this case.
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to refugees and immigrants in the North Texas area who are survivors of human rights abuses. It was founded in 1999 by attorney Betsy Healy and social worker Serena Simmons Connelly.
HRI provides services to clients through two main programs: the Asylum Program and the Women and Children’s Program. The Asylum Program assists refugees who have fled to the United States because of past persecution, or the fear of persecution based on one of the five protected grounds (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group). The Women and Children’s Program helps indigent immigrant men, women and children who are the victims of violence and/or abuse and neglect.
*client’s name has been changed to protect anonymity