Reed Smith has obtained a grant of asylum for two pro bono clients who entered the United States as undocumented immigrants in March 2016, fleeing death threats from both the Mara 18 gang and El Salvador’s National Civil Police, after testifying against each in separate court cases and spending years in hiding.

Related Professionals: Michael B. Galibois Maxwell J. Eichenberger

The grant of asylum followed a merits-hearing before the Chicago Immigration Court. In preparing the clients’ case, Reed Smith worked with Justice in Motion, a New York-based, nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rights of migrants from Mexico and Central America, to obtain court documents and critical witness affidavits from individuals in El Salvador corroborating the clients’ story. The Reed Smith team eventually submitted more than 400 pages of briefing and supporting materials to the Immigration Court. The court found the team’s submissions and witness testimony compelling, and granted asylum to the clients from the bench. The Department of Homeland Security waived its right to appeal, entitling the clients to immediate legal status, and paving the way for future legal status for other members of the clients’ family, including an individual who remains in hiding in El Salvador.

Reed Smith obtained the case through the firm’s pro bono partnership with Equal Justice Works and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Reed Smith’s Chicago-based team – counsel Michael Galibois, associate Bradley Dlatt, and paralegal Marisa Maldonado, with assistance from associates Eric Huang and Max Eichenberger – collaborated on the case with Maria Blumenfeld, an Equal Justice Works Fellow whose position is jointly sponsored by Reed Smith and Microsoft Corporation.