A New Year Asylum Win

Aloha kakou: 

It’s a great pleasure to start out the New Year (and new semester) with some good news from the Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic. On January 10, 2022, our clinic won an asylum case for a family from El Salvador in the Honolulu Immigration Court. The mother and her children had been targeted by the Barrio 18 gang after one of the female members of their extended family, who had suffered through an abusive relationship forced on her by a gang leader, managed to get free and flee to the United States. The gang leader told the family that if his “girlfriend” did not return, he would kill the whole family, one-by-one. When the gangs carried out their threat and murdered their grandmother, the matriarch of the clan, the family fled El Salvador seeking asylum. 

Our clinical students and volunteers were critical to this success. As this case stretched out over three years, clinical students assisted by conducting fact-gathering interviews, putting together briefs, preparing motions, and continued case management. As these clients only spoke Spanish, the assistance of many of our volunteer interpreters to gather the relevant facts and interview the clients. was critical. 

Live-client clinics offer students an opportunity to work on real cases and interact with clients in a face-to-face modality. Students make appearances in the Immigration Court and work to resolve case issues in real time as they arise. Motions practice and transactional applications work fill out the work agenda. Students in the Clinic work hard for their three credits, but when we win a case like this one the rewards go well beyond grade points. It is no exaggeration to say that our clinical students and supporting alums have made a better and safer life possible for this family. 

Mahalo for your support,
The Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic