This is a group photo of the woman whom Gallagher attorneys helped with her asylum case.In 2016, the client, a survivor of intimate-partner violence, courageously fled her native country of Honduras and safely arrived in the United States with her two minor children. Immediately detained by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, the woman and her children passed a credible fear interview and were re-located to Baltimore, where they filed for asylum and waited for a hearing to determine their fate in the face of a deportation order. This April, the client and her sons were officially granted asylum by the Baltimore Immigration Court, thanks to the pro bono representation of Gallagher Evelius & Jones attorneys, in conjunction with the Tahirih Justice Center.


Gallagher first received the case as a pro bono referral from the Tahirih Justice Center in 2017. The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves immigrant survivors fleeing gender-based violence. According to Tahirih, “immigrant women and girls are up to two times more likely to experience domestic violence than the general population.”

The client and her sons were granted temporary work permits during this time, and remained hopeful regarding the outcome of their case. Last year, the client faced an additional hurdle when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Originally scheduled for a hearing in 2018, the case was twice postponed for lengthy periods—first in 2018, it was postponed to 2020; then in 2020, it was postponed until 2024—leaving the client and her family in a state of continued uncertainty as to their status and ability to remain in this country. Because the case languished in the Immigration Court for so long, numerous Gallagher attorneys and paralegals played a role in seeing the case through for their client, including Ella Aiken (who was the sole attorney able to see the case from start to finish), Sarah Simmons, Ward Coe, Morgan Miller, and Julie Smith.

At the April 23, 2024 hearing during which asylum was ultimately granted, Sarah Simmons served as lead counsel and was accompanied by Ella Aiken, Ward Coe, and Morgan Miller. Tahirih Justice Center attorney Dane Foster was also present.

Sarah reports that the issues at the hearing were significantly narrowed in large part due to the strength of written submissions provided a month earlier, which included a legal brief, testimony from numerous fact and expert witnesses, and hundreds of pages of supporting documentation regarding the social, economic, and political conditions for women like the client in Honduras. One expert report specifically addressed that the client was unlikely to be able to access the necessary cancer treatment and care in Honduras, which the Court found compelling. The Court ultimately granted asylum based on her past persecution as a Honduran woman experiencing domestic abuse, as well as on humanitarian grounds due to her health issues.

What does this victory mean for the client?

Victory means the client and her sons have been officially granted asylum and the deportation order becomes null. It means they are eligible to apply to become permanent residents and obtain their green cards, and to eventually apply for citizenship. It means the client can continue to receive the necessary care to navigate her cancer diagnosis.

Sarah acknowledged that this case was difficult due to its heavy subject matter and high stakes, but extremely rewarding.

“We’re civil litigators,” she said. “We want to achieve a positive outcome for our clients no matter the case, but it’s a different feeling when you’ve obtained this type of relief for someone. It’s one of those cases that reminds you why we do what we do. It was such a wonderful outcome that really affects every part of their lives.”


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