15 Jun Asylum Granted in Removal Proceedings to Nigerian Citizen who feared Femal Genital Mutilation (FGM) if forced to return to her home country
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer Marco Pignone successfully represented a Nigerian Citizen in removal proceedings before the Philadelphia Executive Office for Immigration Review in a claim for asylum. Our client had come to the United States with her family as a child. Her mother, along with other family members, had been forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria. Our client had never undergone the procedure but feared that she would be forced by her tribe (the IBO tribe) to undergo FGM if she was forced to return to Nigeria. Our client had been included as a derivative in her mother’s asylum application in the early 1990s and we used this fact to successfuly establish an exception to the 1 year filing deadline for asylum on the basis that her prior attorney had failed to advise her of the need to file her own independent asylum application when she turned 21 because at that point she could no longer be included as a derivative in her mother’s application. We also successfuly argued to the Immigration Judge that our client could not safely relocate anywhere in Nigeria to avoid persecution. Following detailed testimony from multiple witnesses including a Chief and Enze of the IBO tribe, and a review of substantial evidence, the Immigration Judge granted our client asylum and the Department of Homeland Security did not appeal the Judge’s grant.