Asylum Victory After Settlement at U.S. Supreme Court

January 8, 2015

Capping years of collaborative litigation that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Center for New Americans’ (CNA) client Pe Paul Goromou was granted asylum on January 8 by an immigration judge.

The CNA’s Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic, along with co-counsel from Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., and The Advocates for Human Rights, had filed a petition for certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and correct the government’s misinterpretation of a controversial statute that requires most persons fleeing persecution to apply for asylum within one year of their arrival in the United States. Goromou was denied an available exception to this one-year time limit even though he filed his application just 33 days late under extenuating circumstances, without a lawyer, and while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to undisputed past torture. When Goromou’s case reached the Supreme Court last summer, the government agreed to reverse its position and return the matter to immigration court for a grant of asylum.

Counsel on the certiorari petition were Mahesha Subbaraman (’11) now at the Institute for Justice; Janet Evans, now at Donna Law Firm; Eric Magnuson, Anne M. Lockner, and Sally Silk from Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi; Amy Bergquist (’07) and Deepinder Mayell from The Advocates For Human Rights; and Benjamin Casper (’97) and Kate Evans from the Center for New Americans. Law students from both the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic and the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic worked on Goromou’s case at all stages as it advanced from the Board of Immigration Appeals to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court: Gaelen Schumann (’14), Hayley Steptoe (’14), Lina Houston (’14), Anna Finstrom (’15), and Justin Erickson (’13), Matthew Webster (’11), Jonathan Moler (’11).

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