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Dahlia traveled from Africa to the United States in 2002 with her two young children. While her two children gained lawful status, she had not been able to. She had not seen her 100-year-old mother since arriving to the United States — due to her lack of status, she had not left the country, fearing she could not return.
The Law Clinic & Justice Center's Immigration Law Clinic began representing Dahlia in January 2015, after she was referred from the Empire Justice Center, who had completed her U-Nonimmigrant application several years prior. She became eligible for this Visa by assisting law enforcement in the arrest and prosecution of a co-worker who violently assaulted and sexually harassed her.
When she came to the Clinic, she was eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence based on her U-Nonimmigrant Visa. The Clinic agreed to represent her in her pursuit for lawful permanent residency. Students conducted interviews, performed legal research, and collaborated with Dahlia’s previous attorney at the Empire Justice Center to prepare her immigration application.
Clinic students applied for her Lawful Permanent Residence, and filed a request to expedite Dahlia’s application on humanitarian grounds, so that she could see her now 102-year-old mother. The expedited request was granted, the application was approved, and Dahlia traveled to her home country to visit her family. She surprised them by showing up on their doorstep after 15 years. Her mother was ecstatic.
When Dahlia returned from her 23-day trip, she came to the Clinic to deliver presents and thank everyone. She conveyed her great joy in being able to visit with her family, especially her mother. She expressed particular pride about her mother: “She can get about on her own and still has all her teeth!”
Dozens of law students participate in
the Law Clinic & Justice Center every year, helping community members with issues around domestic violence, immigration, health, taxes, and more. This past year they helped some 190 families.
(real names are withheld)