Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The case of Demiraj v. Holder 631 F.3d 194, 201 (5th Cir. 2011)involves a family of Albanians who fear persecution by a human trafficker, Bill Bedini. Edmond Demiraj was slated to testify against the trafficker, who escaped and fled. Mr. Demiraj was eventually deported to Albania, where he was kidnapped, beaten, and shot by Bedini. He then returned to the U.S. where he was ultimately granted Withholding of Removal. Withholding - while it involves a legal analysis similar to asylum - offers fewer benefits than asylum status, and specifically, does not automatically grant derivative status to his wife or child. Thus, Mrs. Demiraj and her son had to file a separate asylum claim, and a different immigration judge found that they could not show that they would be persecuted because of their status as Demiraj family members. Incredulously, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision. Ms. Demiraj and her son filed for certiorari in the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, attorneys representing Ms. Demiraz and her son, received notice that DHS is granting asylum to the entire family. After 10 requests to delay its response to Orrick's cert petition, the government closed the deportation case and granted asylum to the entire family, an outcome that would not have even been possible had Ms. Demiraz won at the Supreme Court!