Fulbright Pro Bono Team Obtains Asylum for Malian Woman
Fulbright lawyers recently obtained asylum for a young woman from Mali after she was referred to Fulbright by Tahirih Justice Center. Tahirih is a non-profit organization working to protect female immigrants from gender-based violence through legal services, advocacy and public education programs.
The young Malian woman sought asylum in the United States because if sent back to Mali, she would be forced by her family to marry a sexually and physically abusive relative and to submit to female genital mutilation ("FGM").
According to the U.S. State Department, both forced marriage and FGM are widespread practices in Mali, with an estimated 85% to 92% of Malian women and girls subjected to FGM. The government of Mali is either unable or unwilling to protect its citizens from either type of persecution.
The asylum laws of the United States are intended to protect those individuals who are unable to return to their home countries due to a well-founded fear of future persecution on the basis of a membership in a particular social group.
Following an interview with an asylum officer, on July 20, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted asylum to the client.
Learn more about Fulbright's pro bono efforts at www.fulbright.com/probono.