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Law students help gain political asylum for clients

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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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