When citizens of foreign nations are persecuted and their human rights are violated, they have the ability to seek refuge and protection in the United States. There are thousands of foreign nationals that seek asylum in the United States each year, and our Virginia immigration team outlines some of the most famous asylum cases that prove why seeking safety in another country is a human right.
Yu Jie, an author and dissident, came to the United States in January 2012. Yu published a book in China critical of the premier (the highest administrative position in the Chinese government) and worked to publicize the work and imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. He was fleeing beatings, detainment, and house arrest in his home country of China until he was granted asylum in October of that year.
Jorge Luis Aguirre
Jorge Luis Aguirre, a Mexican journalist, was the editor of the online newspaper “La Polaka” when he began received death threats from Mexican drug gangs. In an attempt to secure his safety from the cartel, he fled across the Texas border in 2008 and sought asylum. Before receiving it in 2010, Aguirre testified before the Senate in the previous year to aid the United States authorities in subduing the cartel in hopes of saving even more lives.
You may know Madeleine Albright as the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first female U.S. Secretary of State, but what you may not know is that she was an asylum seeker herself. Born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, her family fled to England when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. The family then returned to Prague after World War II, but a communist coup soon made them refugees once again and they traveled to the United States in 1949.
During the Regan Administration, Albright worked in various nonprofits and became a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. In 1993, Albright became the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton Administration. During her tenure, Albright advocated “assertive multilateralism,” and worked to bolster U.S. leadership in world politics. In 1997, Albright became the first woman to hold the title of Secretary of State where she distinguished herself as a fierce advocate for democracy and human rights.
Eman al-Obeidi made international news when she burst into a hotel in Tripoli, Libya, and announced to foreign journalists that she had been gang-raped by then-dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s supporters. After being dragged away and reportedly beaten before fleeing Libya, al-Obeidi fled to Tunisia, was taken back to Libya, and was eventually brought to the United States, where she was granted asylum, and finally, safety in 2011.
In 2017, our own law office was in the Fourth Circuit arguing a precedent-setting case in asylum jurisprudence. Our firm argued that the daughter of a businessman who was targeted by gangs because of her familial relationship qualified for asylum. The Fourth Circuit agreed and remanded this case to the immigration court for the issuance of a new opinion. Zavaleta not only feared for her own safety, but the safety of her children from the MS 13 gang and was able to win her asylum, along with her childrens’ in the United States.
To find out more about how asylum may be able to help you or a loved one, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (703) 552-5051 to schedule a consultation!