Adija; Fleeing Violence from Her Own Family in Nigeria

by Adam Delezenne

Adija traveled to the US on a visitor’s visa in 2016. For many years she had been pursued by family members in her native Nigeria. They demanded that she marry and undergo the traditional procedure they call “female circumcision” but is known elsewhere as female genital mutilation (FGM). Her refusal to participate in these traditional practices brought violence: multiple beatings and an acid attack.

When she first traveled to the United States, Adija believed she had escaped her family.  She hoped to return to Nigeria and start a new life in another city. Several months into her trip, she learned that her family was afraid of losing her and planned to seize her and force her to undergo the procedure upon her return. Even today, though she is still in the United States, her family continues to pursue her through harassing calls and text messages.

She came to the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center for help, and we are happy to take on her case.  We feel she has a strong legal and moral case for receiving asylum in the US.

Unfortunately, before Adija found us, she attempted to seek asylum without legal help and made some mistakes in the process.  These paperwork errors almost ended her efforts to win asylum. We’ve been to immigration court with her and are working to correct the honest mistakes made navigating a complex system.

Because we are here to help, we are confident that at her next hearing, scheduled for 2021, she will win asylum and be granted the opportunity to live permanently in the US without fear.

The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center provides free and low-cost legal services to those who need them most in the Detroit area, with a focus on recent immigrants and refugees.

We were founded in 2014 by Kevin Piecuch, our Executive Director and principal attorney, to help meet the great need for quality legal services in underserved communities. We believe that everyone deserves justice regardless of your country of origin, the color of your skin, or your ability to afford an attorney.

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