On October 14, 2021, a Sidley pro bono team obtained asylum in New York Immigration Court for an LGBTQ+ client who fled persecution in Cuba. While in Cuba, the police arrested or detained the client over fifteen times, fined him, and physically and verbally abused him for being transgender — all of which began when he was only an adolescent. His last encounter with the Cuban police occurred when he participated in an LGBTQ+ march and was arrested and jailed for a week, beaten, and threatened with five to eight years’ imprisonment.
Sidley associates Jordan Duval and Anise Molina prepared and presented the asylum case to the Court, supervised by partner Ellen Dunn, and with valuable advice and assistance from associates Debbie Sands, Tu Tu, and project assistant Georgia Bartels-Newton.
In addition to an application for asylum that included country conditions evidence, multiple affidavits in support, and expert reports by a country conditions expert and a psychologist, the Sidley team also filed an application for relief under the Cuban Adjustment Act on behalf of the client. Notably, Sidley was able to obtain asylum for the client in a matter of months, even though the process can sometimes span several years.