Mr. E, a client of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, is reunited with his children after 20 years of separation. Mr. E retained the IRC to assist him in his asylum application in the fall of 2017. His case had been up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on two separate occasions before our team came to represent him in his final hearing before the San Francisco Immigration Judge. The case had a lengthy and complicated procedural history that was made more challenging by the fact that months before his final hearing, Mr. E suffered a debilitating stroke that rendered him bedridden and required 24/7 skilled nursing assistance. IRC students Hannah Coleman (’19) and Yvette Borja (’18) engaged in cutting-edge legal research that required them to deal with a multi-decade record. They developed legal arguments and worked to identify an expert witness and other evidence that could corroborate Mr. E’s asylum claim. They prepared and filed a legal brief with the Immigration Court, along with a sworn declaration for Mr. E that would serve as the lynchpin and central piece of evidence in his case. Upon the conclusion of Hannah and Yvette’s work with the clinic, IRC students Sophia Carrillo (’18) and David Wang (’19) assumed representation of Mr. E. They prepared a supplementary evidentiary submission. At trial, Sophia and David conducted direct and re-direct examinations of both Mr. E and the expert witness. Despite that Mr. E arrived at the courthouse by ambulance and in a gurney bed, he was prepared and engaged in the proceeding because of Sophia and David’s commitment to ensuring their client was engaged and an active participant in his case. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge granted Mr. E asylum. Mr. E then filed petitions for his wife and his children. While his wife’s process went according to the average pace, the applications for his children (who remained in Fiji) were delayed. The IRC filed multiple requests to expedite the case and even sought the support of Mr. E’s local congressperson. After nearly four years of waiting for the visas to be issued, and after over two decades of separation, the family was finally reunited this month.
Hannah Coleman shares, “Representing Mr. E in his removal proceedings was one of the highlights of my time at Stanford Law School. It was such a privilege to work alongside Mr. E who had been fighting his immigration case for over two decades. Even though it was a long journey, he never gave up hope and continued to dream of the day that he would be reunited with his children who remained in their home country of Fiji. It has now been four years since Mr. E was granted asylum and I am thrilled to hear that after being separated for over two decades, Mr. E and his wife are finally reunited with their beloved children who received derivative asylum status after the clinic filed applications on their behalf.”