Human Rights for Refugees and Survivors of Domestic Violence

Clinic students represent asylum seekers fleeing persecution from gangs, cartels, and domestic violence. Students develop client and witness declarations, conduct complex legal research, prepare asylum submissions, and represent clients in immigration court.

Case Examples

Matter of R

IRC students helped R, a young mother from Mexico, to obtain a U visa and terminate the removal proceedings against her in immigration court. While living in Mexico, R was the victim of repeated sexual assaults and was forced into prostitution as a teenager. Upon arriving in the United States she was again victimized, this time at the hands of her domestic partner who assaulted her multiple times and threatened her with a machete. IRC students interviewed R on many occasions, developed R's legal theory and facts, and helped R obtain critical social services. R’s U visa application was ultimately granted and the IRC was able to obtain a derivative visa that allowed her young son to join her in the United States. After many years, R's family is now united and living together with lawful status in the United States.

Matter of C

IRC students assisted C, an undocumented single mother from Guatemala, in preparation for her upcoming Master Calendar Hearing. C was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-partner who beat her and threatened to kill her. C attempted to run away multiple times until she finally escaped her ex-partner and fled to the U.S. C had been deported back to Guatemala once before, but after re-entering the U.S. and demonstrating reasonable fear of returning to her home country, C was able to apply for Withholding of Removal and Relief Under the Convention Against Torture Act. Students interviewed C, prepared for her hearing, conducted legal research, and investigated whether there were any challenges to C being subject to reinstatement of removal.
Alex & Megan at Court
The hearing went well, and I felt very prepared. We met our goals- setting a date for C's hearing and noting the asylum eligibility issue on the record. I really wanted to do a good job for C so that she felt confident in our representation of her...and I wanted her to feel safe and protected while walking into court with her team of lawyers.

Megan McKoy, JD '17

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Clinic Students Represent Asylum-Seekers at "Rocket Dockets"

Human Rights for Asylum Seekers 3

Karlo Dizon, JD '16

"Beginning with context -- the experience gave life to what had otherwise been (at least on my end) only theoretical and abstract notions of the removal apparatus and the individuals undergoing the process."

Human Rights for Asylum Seekers 4

Pablo Hernandez, JD '17

"Hearing respondents’ stories is always disconcerting. Our second respondent’s facial cues subtly implied sadness. And she had every reason to feel that way. She was kidnapped in her home country. She then fled with her husband and three kids aged between 10-14. But her husband is detained..."

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Alexa Graumlich, JD '17

"It was nice to have an immediate impact on people and make one part of this long process a little easier."

Representing Survivors of Domestic Violence

Human Rights for Refugees and Survivors of Domestic Violence
To represent their clients, students have conducted multiple client and witness interviews, investigated avenues for legal relief, marshalled key evidence, developed legal arguments, and presented their clients’ cases in court and before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Case Examples: Representing Survivors of Domestic Violence

Matter of S

IRC students assisted S, an undocumented single mother of three United States citizen children, to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. S came to the United States when she was in elementary school. She was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her long term partner (the father of her three children). S’s ex-partner had been deported the year prior after she called the police to report an incident of violence. S feared returning to Mexico because of the animosity and blame that her ex harbored towards her. S is also the primary caretaker of her lawful permanent resident mother, who suffers from chronic and life threatening end stage renal failure, which requires dialysis four times a week. Students interviewed S, her family members, and various doctors who were involved in her mother's medical care, drafted declarations and gathered other corroborative evidence, and presented the evidence and legal argument to the Immigration Judge and opposing counsel.

Matter of L

IRC students assisted L with applying for a U Visa, a form of legal relief for non-citizens who have been the victim of a serious crime and have cooperated with law enforcement. L is a lawful permanent resident and suffered severe domestic violence at the hands of her husband for over a decade. The U Visa is an effort to prevent L from being deported back to Mexico, away from her six United States Citizen children, ten United States Citizen grandchildren, and the community she has lived in for over forty years.

Matter of W

IRC students helped W with obtaining legal status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A VAWA petition is a form of immigration relief that allows noncitizens married to abusive United States Citizens to leave their abusers and still maintain legal status. A male victim of spousal abuse, W was in danger of being deported to the Middle East because his abusive wife withdrew his green card application and he was charged with being in the U.S. unlawfully.

Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Files Lawsuit to Uncover Federal Government Policies on Deportation Procedures for Recent Central American Refugees

The public deserves to know the policies by which the federal government is considering the asylum claims of recent Central American children and families, many of whom have fled horrible persecution abroad.

Jayashri Srikantiah, Director, Immigrants' Rights Clinic

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