Quinn Emanuel represented, on a pro bono basis, a young Honduran mother (Y. U-R) and her son (D. M-U) in their quest for asylum in the United States. For their protection, we have not identified them by name.
Beginning when she was 10 years old, Y. U-R was groomed by D. M-U’s father—a 25 year-old man. In a country where the age of consent is 18, Y. U-R had two children by the age of 16. D. M-U’s father violently abused Y. U-R, and twice nearly killed her. As a baby, D. M-U was so afraid of his father that he would cry himself purple whenever his father came near.
To make matters worse, Y. U-R was also in the crosshairs of the local gang boss, who had killed her brother and driven her sister out of the country. The gang boss told Y. U-R that he had paid a hit man to kill her but, unlike her brother, her head would be cut off and sent to her mother. After a failed attempt to kidnap her, Y. U-R fled with D. M-U to the United States, where she sought asylum. Y. U-R’s “sin” in all of this was to tell men to stop abusing women, that women are not property to be mistreated, and that women deserved respect like anybody else.
It is nearly impossible for anyone who is a victim of domestic violence or gang violence to get asylum. Also, because certain applicants—including Y. U-R and D. M-U—are forced to wait in Tijuana for their court dates, it can be dangerous for an applicant to pursue an asylum claim. That was the case for Y. U-R and D. M-U , because the gang boss’s brother showed up in Tijuana shortly after they did.
After multiple hearings, the Court issued a lengthy decision granting asylum. We expect the Court’s written decision will be frequently cited in the future to help others seeking asylum, particularly victims of gender-based violence in Central American countries.