ADF attorneys submit brief to keep Uzbeki family together
NEW YORK — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday with the Board of Immigration Appeals on behalf of an Uzbekistan man facing the possible deportation of his wife and separation from his child. The man has been allowed to stay in the United States because of persecution he endured in his homeland and the prospect of further persecution if he returns, but asylum can prevent his wife from being deported.
“Families should be allowed to stay together, not torn apart needlessly,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “An immigration judge has already legally determined that this man is likely to face persecution if he returns to Uzbekistan. It’s our hope that the board will grant him asylum so his family will not be irrevocably torn apart.”
Sharif Kasymbekov, an evangelical Christian convert from Uzbekistan, came to the U.S. in 1998 as a student. He married in 2004 and has a son, who is a U.S. citizen. Although he unknowingly missed the one-year deadline for asylum applications, he applied for asylum after the climate for religious freedom, particularly for Christians, had significantly deteriorated in Uzbekistan.
An exception to the one-year deadline exists for individuals who can prove that conditions have materially worsened in their home country. Nonetheless, in October 2007, an immigration judge denied asylum to Kasymbekov and instead granted him “withholding of removal,” which prevents him, but not his wife, from being deported.
ADF attorneys, working with attorneys from Advocates International and Jubilee Campaign, argue in their brief that the board should grant asylum to Kasymbekov, which would allow his family to stay together in the U.S. rather than be separated. The brief also contends that the judge’s misapplication of the law regarding a material change in country conditions may harm other persons seeking asylum based on genuine religious persecution.
“Given the recent and significant increase in the persecution of Christians in Uzbekistan, it is appropriate for the board to grant Sharif asylum based on these changed circumstances,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “By granting asylum, the board can protect Sharif and keep his family together in a place where they can practice their faith freely.”
A copy of the friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals, is available here.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.