Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Students Continue Work as Alumni to Win Deportation Case in San Francisco Immigration Court

Former Stanford Immigrants’ Rights Clinic students Matthew Verdin (JD ‘15) and Stacy Villalobos (JD ‘15) filed a successful motion to terminate on behalf of their client in San Francisco Immigration Court.

Immigrants' Rights Clinic Students Continue Work as Alumni to Win Deportation Case in San Francisco Immigration Court
Stacy Villalobos (JD ’14) and Matthew Verdin (JD ’14)

In the Spring of 2014, as 2Ls, Matthew Verdin and Stacy Villalobos represented a legal permanent resident (Ms. P) facing deportation. Ms. P, a Bay Area resident, was devastated that after many years in the United States, she would potentially have to leave the country with little chance of being ever able to return to the United States and would face separation from her two daughters.

During that quarter, Stacy and Matthew researched potential avenues to prevent Ms. P’s deportation, advised Ms. P about these options, and filed two applications for relief on her behalf. They also represented Ms. P at one of her first hearings before the Immigration Court in San Francisco.

The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC), under the guidance and leadership of Jayashri Srikantiah, director of the IRC, and Lisa Weissman-Ward, IRC clinical supervising attorney, continued to represent Ms. P as her case progressed.  While her immigration case was pending before the Immigration Court, Ms. P. obtained pro bono legal assistance from Toni Qui, of Sheppard Mullin, who assisted Ms. P in challenging the underlying criminal proceedings that formed the basis of the client’s immigration case. These efforts were successful, which created the opportunity for a motion to terminate in the immigration court case. This led to Matthew and Stacy’s renewed involvement in the client’s case in late Spring of 2016.

Matthew and Stacy were thrilled to once again support the client in her fight to remain in the country–this time as law school graduates and licensed attorneys. They researched and drafted the motion to terminate in her case, which asked the immigration court to “terminate” or dismiss the case because the government’s charges were substantively defective. This motion drew on the original research Matthew and Stacy had conducted as law students.

Happily, we were successful with our arguments and the motion to terminate was granted by the judge in Ms. P’s case. After years of living in fear of being deported and separated from her two daughters, the client is elated to no longer have the prospect of deportation hanging over her head. Ms. P and her family will be able to remain together.