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Colby Anne Kingsbury
Photo by Marina Makropoulos.
Colby Anne Kingsbury, a partner and business litigator at Faegre Baker & Daniels, met Yemen native Rashed BinRashed in 2005, when she agreed to represent him pro bono in a complex immigration case.
"This was an opportunity to, first of all, do the right thing, and second of all, get some other good experience," she said. "I took the case on and immediately loved my client. He's a diplomat's son, so he had a great education and interesting tales."
Her client moved to the U.S. in 1999 after a civil war erupted between north and south Yemen, and a few years later, he was detained for possession and use of a fake Somali passport. Kingsbury spent six years on BinRashed's case, taking it to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, back to the Immigration Court and then back up to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Even though she secured BinRashed's release and achieved him a withholding of removal, he still can't receive identification, attend school or get a job until his final hearing in May.
"It's been an incredible experience, and sadly, it's not quite over," Kingsbury said. "Even with this administration where you'd think immigrants have a better chance, that hasn't happened at all. There is this fear that at any time, they can say things have improved in Yemen and now you have to go home."
Kingsbury not only wants BinRashed's withholding of removal to go into effect so he can move on with his life, but she wants less bureaucracy in the area of immigration law.
"I see a lot of indecision, and that indecision has caused these horrible repercussions where there are biased and prejudicial laws popping up all over the place," she said. "People are so narrow-minded on this issue. They just see that you're here, and you're not supposed to be here, and the line gets drawn there."