11 Louise was treated by the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and referred from there to the New York Legal Assistance Group, which referred her to Mintz Levin. Attorneys including Narges Kakalia and Jill Madeo took the lead in preparing her asylum application, while immigration attorney Marisa Howe provided mentoring and counsel. Attorney Avisheh Avini and Assistant Marie Jezequel translated for Louise, a native French speaker, and Summer Associate Todd Rosenbaum worked with Project Analyst Laurel Stoffel to prepare Louise for her hearing. In May 2011, Louise was granted asylum. Her asylum officer noted that her petition was one of the best documented she’s seen, largely due to Louise’s diligent collection of her medical records and photographs of her injuries as well as her ability to bravely tell her story, despite the difficulty of having to relive traumatic events. Louise has recently become employed as a home health care worker. She continues to work with Project Analyst Lelia Ledain and her Mintz Levin attorneys to petition for her children to join her in the United States. Freedom to Heal “Marguerite,” a young woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was victimized for geopolitical reasons completely beyond her control. She arrived in the United States after witnessing the murder of her father, who had been trying to rescue her while she was being raped. It was the third time she’d been sexually assaulted by rebel soldiers, who had entered the region to terrorize the local population and control its mining resources. A clergyman got Marguerite on a plane out of the country without a passport, but because she arrived in the United States without papers, she was placed in an immigration detention center. Attorney Helen Kim learned of Marguerite’s case from the Capital Area Immigrants’Rights Coalition, an organization whose mission is to educate immigrant detainees and assess their claims for asylum.“We are the only organization in the area providing legal services to detained immigrants,”says Liz McGrail, the coalition’s legal director. Helen prepared Marguerite’s affidavit and motions before the Arlington Immigration Court, and worked with attorney Helen Guyton to file her application. Assisted by Project Analyst Colton Heward-Mills, she prepared a supporting brief outlining the turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and gathered affidavits confirming Marguerite’s post-traumatic stress disorder. Attorney Stephanie Willis and Pro Bono Chair Sue Finegan provided additional guidance. Marguerite’s hearing went smoothly and her application was granted. Today, after nine months in detention, she is living in the DC area, attending school, and building a happier life. An asylum applicant’s chances of success increase dramatically when he or she is represented. Pro bono partnerships are vital to CAIR Coalition’s ability to serve the hundreds of immigrants who are detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody each month. Liz McGrail Legal Director Capital Area Immigrants’Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) The Power of Partnerships