HRI won an asylum case for an Iranian woman, Adeleh,* who has been our client for over 7 years. Adeleh converted to Christianity and when she told her husband, he beat her, locked her in the house and threatened to report her to the government. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is a crime in Iran and she could have faced arrest or torture. Eventually Adeleh escaped and came to the United States on a visa, looking for protection. We helped her apply for asylum in 2010 but the Houston Asylum Office sent her case to an Immigration Judge.
Adeleh’s trial took place in Dallas Immigration Court in February and April of 2011. The judge did not issue a ruling until May 2012, when he denied her claim, stating that he did not find her credible. HRI and her pro bono lawyer, David Staber from Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, immediately appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA agreed with us that the judge failed to use the proper credibility standard, and in July 2014 remanded her case back to the judge for him to reconsider his decision.
The judge did not set Adeleh’s case for another hearing until March 2016. Prior to that hearing, we asked lawyers from the Department of Homeland Security to review the case. They agreed that Adeleh qualified for asylum so we filed a joint motion asking the court to grant asylum. Even though both parties concurred that Adeleh qualified for asylum, the judge denied the motion. We filed an interlocutory appeal, which is an appeal that is not from a final judgment, with the BIA. In December 2016, the BIA ordered the Dallas Immigration judge to grant Adeleh asylum. Finally, in March of 2017, the judge followed the BIA’s instructions and signed her asylum order. Adeleh is thrilled that this odyssey is behind her and hopes to petition to bring her children to the United States. She and HRI are extremely grateful to David Staber and Akin Gump for their perseverance and dedication in this difficult case.
* We have changed our client’s name to protect her privacy