U of A School of Law students partnered with Catholic Charities of Arkansas in Little Rock to provide representation to four asylum-seekers from Afghanistan this year. Since August 2022, roughly 75,000 have been given permission to live in the United States, at least temporarily, and many may be eligible for asylum.
The project was part of the students’ work in the Immigration Clinic, one of six clinic opportunities available to law students as part of the School of Law Legal Clinic.
Working in teams, Immigration Clinic students interviewed and screened clients for asylum eligibility, prepared applications for asylum, organized evidence and filed applications with the New Orleans Sub-Office of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.
“My experience over the past two semesters in the Immigration Clinic has been both humbling and gratifying,” said Gus Mettler, Advanced Immigration Clinic student. “Preparing asylum applications and seeing first-hand evidence as to how Afghan citizens are being persecuted has been an incredibly eye-opening experience. I am thankful to our clinic clients who have trusted me enough with their stories to be able to file applications on their behalf, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help where I can.”
“The experience for the students of both working with asylum-seekers and seeing the real-life consequences of current events could not be more valuable,” said Nathan Bogart, visiting director of the Immigration Clinic. “The practice of law is often helping people navigate needlessly complicated processes for even the most basic necessities. For the clients to be able to receive this help free of charge can be life altering, and we are grateful to them for their trust and to Catholic Charities for being willing to partner with us on this project.”
In addition to representing these clients, Immigration Clinic students also staged three naturalization clinics, prepared and performed a mock asylum hearing, heard from several guest speakers working in the field of immigration law and managed a diverse caseload, including U visas, family petitions, removal proceedings and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications.
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