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K&L Gates Obtains Asylum for Prominent Activist and Family

8 December 2021

In a pro bono engagement, a team from K&L Gates’ Houston office had the privilege of helping an internationally-known client and her family with their successful applications for asylum in the United States.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who blogs under the name “Me Nam” or, in English, “Mother Mushroom,” is one of the most prominent political and environmental activists in Vietnam. Since 2006, she has actively fought for human and environmental rights in Vietnam, including by expressing her political opinions online. She has also organized and participated in advocacy activities addressing government transparency, state accountability, environmental protection, and other issues of public interest. Quynh and her mother faced persecution by the Vietnamese government for her advocacy and, in 2016, Quynh was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conducting propaganda against the Vietnamese government. 

Quynh’s mother, Tuyet Lan Nguyen, played an instrumental role in her daughter’s advocacy work by caring for her children, speaking out about her daughter’s mistreatment, and helping to garner support from the international community to facilitate her daughter’s release from prison in Vietnam. In 2018, the United States government intervened, and Quynh was released from prison. Quynh, along with her mother and two children, came to Houston and sought asylum in the United States. 

Quynh and her children were granted asylum in July 2021, and her mother was granted asylum this fall. They have built a new, safe life in Houston and continue their advocacy efforts. The K&L Gates team working on these asylum cases included Li Shen, Grace Haidar, Mai Truong, Hannah Warren, Beth Gilman, and Anil Patel.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

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