We’re Winning: Asylum

Because of your generous support of Immigration Equality’s legal services, Jada’s life has changed forever.

Jada, who was born in Grenada, turned to our legal team for help after fleeing unspeakable persecution in her home country, and even at the hands of her own family. As a young child, her uncle attacked and sexually abused her. Then, he threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone about the abuse. Neighbors taunted and teased her. One broke a glass bottle across her skin.

For Jada, a transgender, HIV-positive woman living in one of the world’s most violent countries for LGBT people, the persecution was severe, unrelenting and inescapable. Even the police refused to offer help, telling her to “act less girly.”

When Jada’s case came to our attorneys’ attention, she had been kicked out of a relative’s house and had been living on the New York subway for two years. We took her case and ensured she won asylum in the United States. Today, Jada receives regular HIV and hormone treatment, as well as treatment and counseling for the traumatic experiences she has endured. And this summer, Jada received her green card.

On World AIDS Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary stories of our HIV-positive clients, like Jada, who have turned to Immigration Equality for help in turning their lives around. So far this year, we have won asylum for nearly 100 clients. One-third of those are HIV-positive individuals who, like Jada, are starting new lives in their new home.

But we couldn’t help Jada, or other clients like her, without your support. Your generous financial support of Immigration Equality’s legal services is what makes Jada’s new life possible.

Immigration Equality clients often have no resources to hire private immigration attorneys. And without legal representation, the likelihood of winning asylum diminishes dramatically. In the coming days, our year-end review will be arriving in your mailbox. It recounts the extraordinary success we’ve had on behalf of clients like Jada over the past year.

I hope you will help us kick off our year-end giving campaign by honoring Jada, and the other Immigration Equality clients who have new hope and a new life on this World AIDS Day, by making a contribution in support of our legal services program.

Our phones ring, every day, with more stories like Jada’s. Our legal team has fielded more than 3,000 requests for help already this year. We will put your gift to immediate, and good use, as we answer those calls for help and continue our work on the 258 clients who currently make up our small legal team’s case load.

With your help, we’re not just winning asylum for LGBT people. We’re giving clients like Jada a lifeline and a chance to begin a new life, too.

by Rachel B. Tiven – Immigration Equality