CAIR Coalition Prevents Deportaton of Young Man with PTSD

by Kathryn M. Doan, Esq.

Bradley Jenkins has served as a legal assistant with CAIR Coalition for the last two years under the auspices of the Mennonite Voluntary Service program. As a newly minted BIA Accredited Representative, Brad recently represented his first client before the Immigration Court. Brad successfully argued that the client, a 19 year old native of Pakistan, should be granted deferral of removal to both Pakistan and Iraq under the guidelines of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Brad's client, ME, was born in Pakistan after his mother fled Iraq. The family subsequently moved to Iran where ME lived until he was eight years old. The family then migrated to the United States as Legal Permanent Residents. ME was raised and schooled in northern Virginia and hadn't left the country since immigrating.

During his youth, ME and his mother were victims of domestic abuse by his father. ME frequently witnessed physical assaults on his mother by his father, attacks which caused severe mental and emotional trauma to him. In one instance, when ME was only three years old, he witnessed an assault on his mother and did not eat or drink anything for three days afterward. This abuse caused ME to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.

ME eventually began to receive therapy and medication for his mental health problems, but the prolonged abuse made it difficult for him to say "No" to people and impacted his ability to make good decisions. At the age of 17, he was convicted of a theft offense leading to efforts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deport him.

ME came to the attention of CAIR Coalition during one of our routine jail visits. Brad took on his case, arguing that ME risked arrest and torture if he was deported to either Iraq or Pakistan. During the trial, a psychologist provided expert testimony on the severity of ME's emotional problems and the limits of his cognitive functioning, explaining that although ME's chronological age is 19, he has the abstract reasoning ability of a 10 year old.

Despite the fact that ME has never been to Iraq, knows nothing of the culture and speaks only a few words of Arabic, the DHS argued that he should be deported there, due to his mother's Iraqi nationality. In the alternative, DHS argued that he should be deported to Pakistan, where he has no family, no support and does not speak the language or know the culture.

Brad argued that in both of these countries, ME would be at risk of being arrested and tortured because of his emotional problems, his limited cognitive functioning, his inability to speak the language and his lack of familiarity with the culture. In addition, the psychologist testified that without the support system so badly needed by someone with ME's mental and emotional problems, his mental state would deteriorate further, putting him at even great risk of arrest and torture by Iraqi or Pakistani authorities.

In a written decision issued after the trial, the Immigration Court found that ME had established that it was more likely than not that he would be detained and tortured should be deported to either Pakistan or Iraq. Thanks to Brad's efforts, ME will be allowed to remain in the United States, close to his family and with access to the treatment he needs to continue healing from his traumatic past.


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