My husband and eldest son were murdered by the rebel forces of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front during an attack in December of 1998. After brutally attacking me and threatening the rest of the family, the rebels left our home. After the rebels murdered my husband and my son, I fled with my children. Fearing for my safety and the safety of my children because of the rebels’ attacks, I decided that the only way that I could guarantee my family’s security was to flee the country.
I arrived in New York in July 1999. After I explained my past terror, a friend suggested that I should apply for asylum and he helped me draft my initial asylum application that I submitted in August 1999, nearly one month after my arrival. It is my understanding that my initial asylum request was denied because the government does not believe that I applied for asylum within one year of arriving. However, this is not true. I applied for asylum within six weeks of arriving in the United States. The INS placed me and my two children into deportation proceedings. I then learned about Human Rights First, which found pro bono attorneys to take on my case. With the help of my pro bono lawyers at the law firm of White & Case, my children and I won asylum before an immigration judge in 2000.
In early 2002, my children and I applied for change of status to lawful permanent residence with the assistance of our lawyers. In 2003, my son who had remained in West Africa finally arrived in the United States and we were reunited after many years apart. I continue to live with my family in New York, where I work at a jewelry factory. I am in close touch with my attorneys, who are currently assisting my son with his request for permanent residence in the United States.