Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Secures Asylum for Tibetan Refugee

Jenner & Block recently obtained asylum for a pro bono client who had suffered religious and political persecution in Tibet, including the imprisonment and torture of her husband and father-in-law. 

To escape such persecution, the client walked for 15 days through the Himalaya while pregnant, to Nepal, where she lived under the constant threat of repatriation to Tibet.  After three years in Nepal, she was able to fly from Kathmandu to Chicago, where she was arrested and imprisoned in the McHenry County Correctional Facility for over three months awaiting an immigration hearing. 

Jenner & Block Associates Aaron M. Forester and Keith V. Porapaiboon wrote a brief in support of the client’s asylum application, and Mr. Porapaiboon conducted her direct examination at her immigration hearing on November 17.

According to the attorneys, the case was complicated by the fact that the client had no legal documentation to prove her identity and, as a Tibetan nomad who had lived in exile for three years, no way to contact her family in Tibet.  In order to win her asylum application, it was therefore necessary to not only prove that the client would be mistreated if she returned to Tibet, but that she was, in fact, a native of the country. 

Partners Donald R. Cassling and James A. McKenna supervised Messrs. Forester and Porapaiboon on this matter.