O is a 16-year-old boy from Somalia who is a member of the low-caste
Midgan clan. When he was 10 he witnessed his mother's torture and rape
by a more powerful clan's militia in their home. The next day he
watched as other powerful clan members invaded his grandfather's farm,
killing Mr. O's brother, grandfather, and kidnapping his father. After
this attack, Mr. O, his mother and remaining siblings fled to a
refugee camp in Kenya where Mr. O was amazed to find his father. The
family lived there together until the Kenyan government closed the
camp. Still fearing to return to Somalia because of civil war,
the family remained in Kenya. When they were able to save enough
money so that one person could enter the United States and escape a
life of persecution, the family chose its eldest child, Mr. O.
Center represented Mr. O at his asylum interview in 1997. When
he learned that he had won, he collapsed in tears of relief at the
has not heard from his family in several years, has no idea where his
parents are, and does not expect to see them again.
another political asylum case, the Center represented a client from
Somalia who had been subject to persecution based on his affiliation
with a low-caste clan. Members of a rival clan looted his family
home and murdered his uncle, brother and two cousins in front of him.
He barely survived on charity from relatives in Saudi Arabia. By
saving over a six-year period, the client was able to accumulate
enough money to be smuggled into the U.S. He soon applied for asylum
but was denied by an asylum officer, based on what the officer
perceived to be inconsistencies in the client's oral and written
testimony. The client's oral testimony has always been consistent, but
his written testimony was done by another person who was not
proficient in English, thereby causing confusion.
The Law Center represented the San Jose resident in Immigration Court,
explained the apparent inconsistencies, and the Immigration Judge
ruled in the client's favor. The grant of asylum means that the
client will receive authorization to work and to immigrate his wife
and daughter from India. (8/00)