THLA Member Secures Asylum For Transgender Woman

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THLA congratulates “J.M.S.R.” on her successful application for U.S. Asylum.  On June 26, 2017, the United States granted asylum to J.M.S.R., who is a native of El Salvador.  As a transgender woman, she suffered torture and abuse from the police and the local gangs in her community.  Fearing for her life, J.M.S.R. fled from El Salvador and made the dangerous trek to the United States, being robbed along the way.


J.M.S.R. received pro bono legal representation through a partnership between THLA and Casa Cornelia Law Center.  Casa Cornelia Law Center is a public interest law firm providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.  Casa Cornelia provided the logistical, legal, moral, back office, and procedural support.  A volunteer attorney, and a member of THLA, Shawn Huston, met with the client, drafted J.M.S.R.’s pre-hearing brief, and represented her at the hearing. J.M.S.R.’s remarkable success at that hearing is underscored by the fact that the ruling magistrate, Hon. David Anderson, historically denies 89.7 percent of asylum cases. (


Recently, THLA has expanded and refined the effort to reach out to LGBTQ community.  Since 2016, THLA hosted a CLE presentation on LGBT rights in public housing, put on a legal clinic for members of the LGBT to confer with THLA attorneys regarding legal issues, worked with Urban Street Angels in providing food to the homeless (a significant percentage of homeless youth are from the LGBT community), and assisted the Sunburst Youth Housing Project for homeless youth with the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego.


In 2017, the CLE and Programming Committee is expanding their efforts and building off their past success, including a community service event with Urban Street Angels to feed the homeless.  THLA is planning three CLE presentations before the completion of the THLA election cycle (MCLE certification pending).  Moreover, a partnership with Casa Cornelia has been forged to help the most at risk members of the LGBTQ community (LGBTQ applicants seeking asylum after being tortured for their sexual orientation/identity).  Already two THLA member attorneys have volunteered and each have received successful results for their clients seeking asylum.


A meaningful part of being an attorney is giving back to the community, in a manner that only a lawyer can.  If you are interested in joining the efforts of THLA to give back to the community, especially representing a client on an immigration case with Casa Cornelia, please contact one of the THLA board members or send an email to [email protected].


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