Individuals Facing Deportation

Refugee & Asylum Cases

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.

Matter of G

Catherine Seita, ‘23, and Eduardo Gonzalez, ‘23, represented G, a native and citizen of Afghanistan seeking asylum after he and his family fled when the Taliban seized control. Catherine and Eduardo engaged in various aspects of preparation for G’s asylum interview. They conducted complex legal research before drafting a detailed letter brief, which persuasively argued why the U.S. government should grant G’s application for asylum. Students also collaborated with G and his wife to draft and finalize sworn declarations in support of their applications for asylum. After filing the evidentiary submission, students turned to preparing G for his asylum interview by conducting multiple moots with G and his wife. At the end of the quarter, students traveled to the East Coast to represent G at his asylum interview.

Matter of M

Viviana Andazola Marquez, ‘22, and Marissa Lowe, ‘23 represented M, an asylum seeker from Africa who fled her country due to political persecution after being imprisoned and beaten for participating in protests and demonstrations at her university. M applied for asylum after arriving in the U.S. During the quarter, students conducted extensive legal research into M’s claims for asylum and drafted a dozen different complex legal research memos that provided an in-depth analysis of M’s eligibility for asylum. Students also held weekly multi-hour meetings with M, during which they applied trauma-informed interviewing practices to learn about M’s experiences in her country of origin. Finally, students represented M at her first immigration hearing.

Matter of C

Anita Desai, ‘22, and Tyler Cochran, ‘22, represented C, a queer woman from Honduras seeking asylum after suffering intimate partner violence. During their time in the clinic, Anita and Tyler finalized and submitted evidentiary materials to immigration court to support C’s case. Anita and Tyler then turned to preparing for the hearing, including conducting several moots to prepare C for direct and cross-examination. Anita and Tyler subsequently negotiated with opposing counsel regarding the scope of C’s testimony. Near the end of the quarter, Anita and Tyler represented C at her final hearing, where the immigration judge granted her asylum.

Matter of W

Sam Becker, ‘22 and Schuyler Atkins, ‘22 represented W, a queer individual from Jordan who applied for asylum through the San Francisco Asylum Office based on fear of being persecuted in the Middle East due to their sexual orientation. Sam and Schuyler prepared a voluminous legal and evidentiary submission for the Asylum Office to support W’s application. The materials included letters of support from family and friends, a declaration from W, testimony from an expert witness on current conditions in W's home country, and a letter brief detailing W’s story and their fears of returning to their home country. Sam and Schuyler also represented W at the asylum interview.

Matter of S

Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza, '21, and Maria Elizabeth Trujillo, '21 represented S, a native of Cameroon seeking asylum based on political persecution. Students conducted weekly in-person meetings with S, worked extensively with expert witnesses, collected letters of support from A’s family and friends, prepared R for his asylum interview, and represented him at his interview at the Asylum Office.

Matter of T

Eric Rodriguez, '20, Marika O'Connor Grant, '20, and Neil Damron,'20, represented T, a native of Cameroon who fled his country due to political persecution and who seeks asylum in the U.S. Students conducted many fact-gathering interviews with T, drafted a detailed declaration in support of his asylum application, researched country conditions, and drafted research memos containing detailed analysis regarding T's asylum claims.

Matter of D

Priscilla Hernandez, '20, Danny Martinez, '20, and Meghan Koushik, '19 represented D, a woman from Guatemala who was the victim of severe physical and sexual violence at the hands of her ex-captor. Students engaged in the final preparations for D's immigration court hearing, where the judge would decide if D could remain in the U.S. Students prepared and filed D's pre-hearing brief and supporting materials, prepared for direct and cross examination through various client meetings and moot courts, corresponded with expert witnesses, and represented D at her final hearing. The immigration judge granted D Withholding of Removal, which allows her to remain in the U.S.

Matter of P

Michaela Ross, '20 and Allison Rothschild, '20, represented P, a woman from Guatemala who fled to the United States escaping an abusive, forced relationship. Students met with P on a weekly basis, drafted her declaration and a legal brief in support of her asylum application, and conducted several witness interviews to finalize letters of support for P's case.

Undocumented Residents

Students work on various cases to assist undocumented residents seeking status in the United States. Students interview clients, draft declarations, and represent clients in immigration court.

Matter of L

Oona Cahill, ‘23 and Kate Healy, ‘23, represented L, who is a citizen of Mexico, wife to a U.S. citizen veteran, and mother to two young U.S. citizen children. L has lived in the U.S. since she was a child. Due to a single criminal conviction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated deportation proceedings. During the winter quarter, students investigated L’s eligibility for prosecutorial discretion under new guidelines established by the Biden Administration. Students did extensive research into the applicable legal standard and engaged in exhaustive fact gathering to make the case that exercising prosecutorial discretion in L’s case served both the government’s interest and the public good. Oona and Kate transformed their research into a legally persuasive letter brief that outlined L’s eligibility for prosecutorial discretion and conducted multiple client and witness interviews to develop the evidentiary record.

Matter of D

Jon Contreras, ‘22 and Miye D’Oench, ‘22 represented D, a native of Mexico and mother to three U.S. citizen children. D has lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years. D’s adult son filed a family-based petition for an immigrant visa with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Unfortunately, the petition remained pending for almost 4 years. During their quarter with the clinic, Jon and Miye conducted legal research and drafted a federal mandumus petition to compel the government to adjudicate the visa petition. Students also advocated with the Department of Homeland Security and a local Congressional office. Due to the students’ efforts, USCIS approved the petition, and D is now eligible for permanent residency.

Matter of P

Drew Alvarez, ’21 and Nam Luu, ’22 represented P, an undocumented person who has lived in the United States with his children and wife for decades. P was deported about a decade ago following a problematic immigration process that violated P’s due process rights, including P’s right to counsel and right to appeal. P re-entered the United States following the deportation to reunite with his family. Drew and Nam met with P on multiple occasions to understand what occurred when P was previously unlawfully deported. Drew and Nam investigated, researched, and prepared a complex brief on a novel legal issue of first impression.

Matter of F

Carolina Herrera, '21, and Noelle Smith, '21 represented F, a native of Nigeria who was served with a notice to appear in immigration court after entry to the U.S. with an expired visa. F is a mother to two U.S citizen children and has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years. Students conducted many in-person interviews with F, filed a detailed and extensive evidentiary submission with the court, prepared F for her final hearing, engaged with expert witnesses, prepared and conducted direct examination, and represented F at her final hearing at immigration court.

Matter of G

Brett Diehl, '21, and Taylor Evensen, '21, represented G, a mother and longtime resident of California who was placed in immigration detention when ICE learned she is undocumented. G was brought to the U.S. from Mexico as a child and has lived in the U.S. ever since. Students conducted extensive research to investigate G’s eligibility for relief, drafted a pre-trial statement that was filed with immigration court, engaged with opposing counsel, participated in several moot courts in preparation for G’s hearing, and represented G at her initial hearing in immigration court. Students also had the opportunity to visit G at the detention facility where she is incarcerated.

Matter of N

Derin McLeod, '20 and Kwan Kim, '20 represented N, a mother and longtime resident of San Mateo County who was given a deportation order following an arrest from ICE. Students conducted multiple client interviews, finalized and filed N's pre-hearing brief and supporting documents, prepared for direct examination, cross examination, and objections through moot courts, corresponded with expert witnesses, and represented N at her hearing.

Immigrants with Past Convictions

Students contribute to key cases at the intersection of immigration and criminal law. Students who defend immigrants with past convictions learn complex legal analysis and writing skills, detailed factual investigation, develop legal arguments and write complex briefs filed before the immigration court and federal courts of appeals.

Matter of R

Jenny Jiao, ‘23, and Christian Soler, ‘23, represented R, a longtime legal permanent resident facing removal from the U.S. due to a single drug possession conviction. R remains in immigration custody while his case is pending at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jenny and Christian drafted the opening brief in R’s case. R’s case involves the categorical rule, a complex legal doctrine governing the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Jenny and Christian conducted a thorough review of R’s immigration and criminal history, conducted extensive legal and factual research, and wrote and revised multiple versions of the brief. They also engaged in client counseling and visited R at the detention center where ICE currently incarcerates him.

Matter of V

Lauren Davila, ‘23, and Jordan Rudner, ‘22, represented V, a citizen and national of Mexico who had lived in the United States since he was a young child. Before he became a client of the clinic, V was deported to Mexico based on a single criminal conviction. The clinic now represents V in his Petition for Review before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. IRC students Lauren and Jordan engaged in cutting-edge and complex legal research in order to develop the most persuasive legal arguments for V’s case. They also provided V with detailed client counseling regarding the state of his immigration case and the potential to be able to be reunited with his family in the United States in the future.

Matter of G

Vanessa Young Viniegra, '23, and Tiffany Gee Ching Lo, '23, represented G, a devoted father and partner who was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and placed in removal proceedings after interactions with the criminal legal system. Students represented G at a critical preliminary hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether or not G was eligible to apply for a waiver, which would allow him to remain in the United States with his family. In preparation for the hearing, students conducted multiple client interviews, did extensive legal research, drafted a complex legal research memo, and mooted their hearing plans. Students also engaged in negotiations with opposing counsel. The hearing was successful and G is now preparing for his final hearing to request that he be able to remain lawfully in the United States.

Matter of T

Andrew Toney-Noland, Yulie Landan, and Sandra Kang represented T, a native of Mexico who has lived in the U.S. without lawful immigration status for over 30 years. T had previously sustained a single conviction under Utah law . Due to his conviction, an immigration court and appellate courts have deemed him statutorily ineligible for a cancellation of his removal case. Andrew, Yulie, and Sandra wrote a brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on T’s behalf, developing intricate legal arguments to argue for his eligibility for cancellation. Students also engaged in client counseling, meeting with T regularly via Zoom to discuss his case and answer questions.

Matter of R

Claire Fieldman, ’22, and Michael Rover, ’22, served as attorneys for R, a long-time permanent resident of the United States who has lived in the Bay Area as a green card holder for over 30 years. R has four U.S. citizen children and a long-term U.S. citizen partner. R suffers from various mental health and substance use disorders. R was placed in removal proceedings nearly a decade ago because of prior criminal convictions. Over the winter ’21 quarter, Claire and Michael prepared a Motion to Terminate, arguing that the government could not meet its burden of establishing that R is deportable based on his past convictions. Claire and Michael engaged in detailed and thoughtful client counseling. They also worked to support R as he voluntarily enrolled himself in an inpatient substance use disorder clinic. Over the course of the quarter, Michael and Claire engaged in cutting edge research to provide a uniquely tailored immigration advisal for R’s criminal defense attorney.

Matter of T

Trillium Chang, '21, and Mishi Jain, '21 represented T, a native of the Philippines and longtime lawful permanent resident who was placed in removal proceedings for prior criminal convictions. Students investigated the charges placed by the government, researched his eligibility for cancellation of his removal, prepared T for his hearing through various moot courts and in-person meetings, and successfully represented T at his initial hearing at immigration court.

Matter of L

Diana Sanchez, '20, and Liz Lagerfeld, '20, represented L, a lawful permanent resident who is detained by ICE due to past criminal convictions. Students prepared and filed a Motion to Terminate D's immigration proceedings on the basis that the charges are legally insufficient. Students also drafted research memos on L's criminal convictions, visited L at the detention facility where he is being held, and prepared to represent him at his next immigration hearing.

Matter of T

Aaron Bray, '19 and Erika Hoglund, '19 represented T, a lawful permanent resident who had been living in the United States since she was 5 years old. T was taken into custody by ICE after having served a prison sentence for past criminal convictions. Students drafted various legal memos based on their research, filed a motion to terminate her immigration proceedings on the basis that the charges against her were legally insufficient, and also visited T at the facility where she was being detained.