Passages of Hope andJustice 7 ABA Immigration Justice Act When “Ahmad,” a 21-year-old refugee now living in San Diego, California, heard the words “You are now an asylee,” he knew that his two-month, three-continent journey from his native Somalia to the United States had finally ensured that he would be spared from the violence that had taken the lives of his mother and father. Ahmad spent his life fleeing violence, torture, and death threats at the hands of majority clan members who have controlled much of Somalia since the fall of the Barre government in 1991. Afraid for Ahmad’s safety, his aunt persuaded him to leave his remaining family and flee to the United States. Aware of Mintz Levin’s extensive expertise in handling political asylum claims, the American Bar Association’s San Diego Immigration Justice Project turned to Mintz Levin’s San Diego office and attorneys Bridget Moorhead and Ben Wagner to assist Ahmad with the asylum process. Working with Ahmad (and with the advice of Marisa Howe in the Boston office), Bridget and Ben prepared a detailed brief to support Ahmad’s claim and represented him at his hearing. So compelling was Ahmad’s recounting of his life in Somalia that the immigration judge granted asylum from the bench. For Bridget, this case was both professionally complex and personally profound. “The challenge as litigators in any case is assembling evidentiary proof,” says Bridget.“In this case, all of [Ahmad’s] records were gone; no birth certificate, no death certificates for his parents.We had no proof of his existence. But, seeing the fear in [Ahmad’s] eyes of returning to Somalia and hearing his story compelled us to do whatever it took to see this case through.” Now a political asylee,Ahmad has been released from detention. He is on track to get a green card and can apply for citizenship in five years. This representation continues on a national level through partnerships with immigration and justice projects including the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project in Boston and Human Rights First in NewYork. Since the early 1990s, Mintz Levin has represented more than 70 individuals and families seeking refuge under the U.S. political asylum laws. Shelter from the Storm “ To connect with a person in need and help send him in an entirely different and amazing direction is a joy Ahmad gave me the chance to experience.” — Ben Wagner Mintz Levin