Page 3 - 2016 Immigration Clinic Newsletter
P. 3

Courtesy of the UH Law Center

                                                                                                            With the help of the American Immigration Council,
                                                                                                            University of Houston Law Center Clinical Associate
                                                                                                            Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman filed an amicus brief
                                                                                                            Thursday on behalf of immigrants vulnerable to
                                                                                                            deportation by the U.S. Department of Justice's
                                                                                                            Board of Immigration Appeals.

                                                                                                            Hoffman, director of the Law Center's Immigration
                                                                                                            Clinic, co-authored the brief with Mary Kenney and
                                                                                                            Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American
                                                                                                            Immigration Council. Law Center students Douglas
                                                                                                            Evans 3L, Tong Jin 2L, and Diana Melendez 2L also
                                                                                                            contributed to the brief.
                                                                                                            "I was very happy the Law Center contributed and
                                                                                                            was a part of this national project," Hoffman said,
            Rosemary Vega, a supervising attorney in the UHLC immigration clinic, speaks with clinic student Melanie Fridgant.   "and I applaud the hard work of our clinical students
                                                                                                            who researched and wrote about this important
            A woman from El Salvador, who was not eligible for an   At the final hearing, the students argued the case and
            immigration bond due to a drug conviction from 2002,   gained the Immigration Judge’s approval.   At issue is the immigration status of "wave-through"
            was in removal proceedings. At the time of her initial
            detention, August of 2015, she was a legal permanent   However, the day after the hearing the client   entries to the U.S. A wave-through entry is described
            resident but was not eligible for much relief. After   remained detained. At once the clinic contacted the   as a person or group of people in a vehicle who are
            many months in detention, attorney Rosemary Vega   Chief Counsel to Immigration Customs Enforcement,   waved through a border and granted admission into
            was contacted to represent her.            who ensured that she would be released that day. She   the country.
                                                       was released that night.
            In September of 2016, clinic students Melanie
            Fridgant and Edwin Villa, under the supervision of   This case is significant because not only is the woman
            Professor Vega, wrote a brief arguing that under a very   a long time legal permanent resident, but she is   Click here to read the full story.
            recent 5  Circuit Court of Appeals case, U.S. v. Hinkle,   illiterate. The client had not applied to become a U.S.
            the client was eligible to apply for Cancellation of   citizen because she cannot read or write, and
            Removal for Legal Permanent Residents under the   therefore, cannot pass the naturalization exam. Due to
            Immigration and Nationality Act.           her illiteracy, she has been victimized many times.
            “The students did a remarkable job in preparing the   The client continues to be a permanent resident and is
            packet and preparing the client’s family members and   back with her family and volunteering at her church.
            the client’s church friend as witnesses”, said Vega.
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