Asylum Victory for Nepalese Refugee
Scott Douglass & McConnico lawyers Willie Cochran and Santosh Aravind secured a grant of asylum for “Raja,” a 28-year-old Nepalese man who was persecuted by the Maoists in Nepal. Raja, a human rights activist, was attacked by the Maoists on three separate occasions before he fled Nepal for the United States.
Raja was born into the so-called “untouchable” Dalit caste. Raja’s wife was born into the upper Chhetri caste. Raja and his wife were shamed and tortured by upper-caste Hindus and banished from their home village on account of their inter-caste marriage. Raja’s wife remains in hiding in Nepal.
Cochran and Aravind spent several months working with Raja, Nepali translators, and country conditions experts to prepare Raja’s case for a contested final merits hearing before a federal immigration judge.
Last week, during the merits hearing, the immigration judge ruled that Raja was credible and entitled to asylum relief. Raja is now on the path to permanent residency and naturalized citizenship. Raja’s wife is on the path to achieve the same status through the derivative asylum program.
Scott Douglass & McConnico represented Raja pro bono and partnered with American Gateways, a local nonprofit organization that provides legal services to low-income refugees and immigrants.
Raja’s name has been changed for the safety and privacy of his family.
Scott Douglass & McConnico Welcomes Mary Byars and Willie Cochran to the Firm
SDM is pleased to welcome Mary Byars and Willie Cochran to the firm.
Willie Cochran earned his J.D. in 2014 from Stanford Law School, where he served as an Articles Editor for the Stanford Law Review. He joins the firm after clerking for Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He represents defendants and plaintiffs in complex legal matters with an emphasis on commercial litigation, appellate litigation, and energy-related disputes.