By Ana Victoria Perez and Elmer Martin Uribe, Student Attorneys with the CUA Immigration Litigation Clinic “Asylum has been granted. Congratulations.” Those are the magic words that Judge David Crosland uttered on the morning of April 21, 2014. As he said those words, a flood of emotions overcame all of us. Happiness, relief, and excitement were felt throughout the small courtroom where Bill had just been granted asylum, twenty-three years after arriving in the United States.
This post was written by Sydney Barron, a law student at George Washington University Law School and a member of the school’s Immigration Clinic, under the direction of Professor Alberto Benitez. Benach Collopy periodically offers this space to law students and non-profit organizations to discuss their immigration cases. If you are a law school professor or a non-profit organization that wishes to tell the story of one of your immigration cases, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Judith Muñoz and Tarunpal Dhillon, Student Attorneys with the Catholic University Law School Immigration Litigation Clinic We met our client, Tanya,[i] for the first time on December 18, 2013 at the Baltimore Immigration Court. She stood behind a glass door, in a navy blue jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled. As she told us her story of survival in South Africa, a few points became very clear about our client: she is a source of inspiration, a fighter, and a seeker of justice.
Last week, we wrote about the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Martinez v. Holder, in which the 4th Circuit held that “former gang members” can qualify as a particular social group for the purpose of establishing eligibility for asylum. Martinez is one of the two cases we wrote about in October in the hope that the 4th Circuit would bring some clarity and reason to the jurisprudence on the meaning of “particular social group” as a basis for asylum eligibility.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court which sets federal law in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, will hear two cases regarding U.S. asylum law. In Temu v. Holder and Martinez v. Holder, the court will consider the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.” The decisions in these cases will determine whether asylum law will be more inclusive or whether the law will shut many deserving applicants out of the protection of asylum.
On Saturday, June 15, BR team members Benach, Sandra Arboleda, and Mariela Sanchez-Odicio spent the morning at CASA de Maryland in a free legal clinic in anticipation of immigration reform. In these events, we are cast as the experts on immigration law, but I am sure that we learn so much more from greeting the community than we provide in legal advice. CASA de Maryland is an outstanding organization and on the front lines of so many essential civil rights battles.
As Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section on Litigation’s Immigration Litigation Committee, Dree Collopy recently collaborated with immigration attorneys from across the country to develop and conduct an immigration training at the ABA 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. In partnership with the ABA Commission on Immigration, Dree’s committee provided a pro bono training program designed to encourage attorneys to serve immigrants in need of a zealous advocate and to equip those attorneys with the skills they need to provide high quality, effective representation for people in removal proceedings.