According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, 24-year-old Alexander discovered early on that being gay in Russia would come with a price. That became even more apparent following the 2013 passing of a Russian law declaring "homosexual propaganda" illegal. Since then, human rights groups have noted a marked increase in anti-gay sentiment and even violence. In 2014, Alexander fled to the United States and landed in Chicago, where living for "just one month changed him."
Corporate associate Timothy Knudsen became his pro bono attorney in October 2015, assisting with his interview with the Office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. With the interview now finalized, they are awaiting the results. Tim says, "Alexander has a strong and well-founded fear of persecution should he return [to Russia]. [I am] hopeful for his case." Tim also is closely tracking the actions of the current administration, as it attempts to reduce immigration and restrict those who can apply for asylum.
In response to the article, Tim continues, "Alexander is an exceptional guy who is fully deserving of US citizenship. Representing him for the past few years through the tumultuous asylum process, with the amazing support of the firm and the National Immigrant Justice Center, has been a personal and career highlight for me. I look forward to the day he gets citizenship." In the meantime, Alexander is working, hoping to become a special-education teacher and taking part in this week's Pride celebration in Chicago.