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Law students help gain political asylum for clients

June 14, 2012

Three immigration clinic students from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law have won political asylum for two people – a young woman who fled to the United States after being subjected to female genital mutilation and a young man who feared persecution in Zimbabwe because of his HIV status.

Zoe Meier, a 2012 law school graduate, worked on the woman’s case, who wanted asylum based on her subjection to the female genital mutilation and her fear of forced marriage, tribal banishment, and other reprisal from her father for refusing to marry. Meier was responsible for all cross-examination, document filing and witness preparation before the immigration judge in Chicago. She continued to help the woman on a pro bono basis after completing her graded clinical work last year.

Recent law school graduates Aimee Hetz and Serge Zaitseff began working on the case of the young man with HIV in January. He was awarded asylum based on his HIV-status and his fear of being subjected to persecution because of it if he returned to Zimbabwe.

A release from the law school says the win in this man’s case is significant because he had been detained by federal immigration authorities for seven months because he was unable to pay the $3,500 bond. Hetz and Zaitseff had challenges communicating with the client because of his ongoing detention and transfer to various facilities and weren’t able to meet with him in person until February.

The law school said immigration clinic students actively represented around 50 people during the 2011-2012 academic year. Student work included representation of applicants for asylum, U visas, U.S. citizenship and temporary protected status.

 

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