UHLC clinic wins parole for Iraqi refugee

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August 11, 2011 -- The University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic this week won “humanitarian parole” for a young Iraqi man, allowing him to join his family in Houston and seek asylum.

The refugee was represented by Yolande Ditewig, an LL.M. student from the Netherlands, and recent graduate Xiao Chen, then a third-year student. During several months, the case required the student attorneys and supervising attorney, Geoffrey A. Hoffman, to present a great deal of evidence in support of his case to officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. “The students worked extremely hard on this challenging case,” said Hoffman, clinical associate professor and faculty supervisor of the UH Immigration Clinic. “In the process, they learned a range of new skills, such as research, writing, client interviewing and advocacy -- keeping the client’s goals in sight at all times, and, most importantly, never giving up.”

The client’s family members had entered the United States previously as refugees from Iraq and are now permanent residents. He, however, was not with his family when they entered the country because he had traveled to a third country. The order allows the young man to enter the United States where he will then apply for asylum.

 The decision brings a measure of joy to a family that had suffered greatly as Christians in Islamic Iraq. The family also has been victimized by crime since arriving in the U.S. “You have brought happiness into our home,” the young man’s mother exclaimed upon hearing the clinic’s news.

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