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2019 Attorneys of the Year: LGBTQ+ asylum matters

Frank Jossi//February 7, 2020//

2019 Attorneys of the Year: LGBTQ+ asylum matters

Frank Jossi//February 7, 2020//

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Working with two other Maslon LLP attorneys, Thomas Pack oversaw five pro bono cases in 2019 involving LGBTQ+ immigrants facing potential deportation to countries where they could face persecution or death.

One case involved a gay Nigerian man who had been outed by his family, his employer and the police in his home country. Being gay in Nigeria brings up to 14 years in prison or, in some areas, can result in death by stoning.

The man fled to Minneapolis. Former Maslon attorney Hillary Taylor, who has since joined the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, led the case for the Nigerian. After an interview at the Asylum Office earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security granted the Nigerian asylum in just three weeks, “which is lightning speed,” said Pack. “It’s a testimony to all the work Hillary did while she was here at Maslon and it was an extremely gratifying result for the client.”

Pack and fellow Maslon attorney Judah Druck also represented a transgender Guatemalan woman who had lived in the country for 20 years and faced potential deportation. The day before trial, Homeland Security stipulated to “withholding of removal,” an immigration status that allows the woman to get a work permit and stay in the country. “This is the best outcome we could have hoped for,” Pack said.

The firm offers the pro bono services because of the “incredible impact legal representation can have on the lives of LGBTQ+ people,” said Pack.

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.

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