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UH Law Center Immigration Clinic students successfully advocate for client's release

April 22, 2020 - A client represented by student attorneys and professors in the University of Houston Law Center's Immigration Clinic was recently freed from detention after an Immigration Court overturned a previous decision.

"This case shows the importance of federal court habeas petitions to protect the Constitutional rights of immigrants,” said Clinical Professor Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the Immigration Clinic. “I congratulate our students 2L Chris Hammond and 2L Chelsea Klumpp as our immigration clinic client, a 20-year-old young man who was the subject of our federal court habeas petition, was released last Friday and will be pursuing asylum

"Thanks to our wonderful clinic colleagues, Supervising Attorneys Josephine Sorgwe and Parker Sheffy for their great supervision of our students on the case and for their excellent advocacy."

This is the second semester that second-year student Chelsea Klumpp has worked in the Immigration Clinic.

“We prepared our arguments thoroughly, and in court our professors advocated fiercely,” she said. “Due to this effort, our client went from facing imminent deportation to being a free man. Cases like this show that it’s worth it to fight these tough battles because you might just massively change someone’s life for the better.

Hammond, also a second-year student, said he is appreciative of working in the Immigration Clinic because it provides real-world experience in immigration law.

"It has been extremely gratifying working on a case that has so clearly improved someone's life," he said. "Participating in the Immigration Clinic is a great way to make an impact on people's lives while you are still in law school."

About the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic

The University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic was founded in 1999 by Joseph Vail, a former immigration judge and UHLC professor. The clinic has since developed into one of the largest in the nation, specializing in handling asylum applications for victims of torture and persecution, representing victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and crime, and helping those fleeing civil war, genocide or political repression, as well as those facing other immigration-related matters in federal court. Clinic students are assigned a variety of cases under direct faculty supervision and are responsible for handling initial interviews through the conclusion of the case, including trial. Students also assist organizations that serve the immigrant community and give individual assistance to those held in immigration detention centers. Since inception, the clinic has served at no cost more than 2,000 individuals who otherwise could not afford legal services. Under the leadership of Clinical Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman, clinic director since 2009, the UH Law Center Immigration Clinic has won the Community Engagement Award, a university-wide honor, and was named “Pro Bono Hero” by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Hoffman works closely with Josephine Sorgwe, a clinical supervising attorney, and Rosemary Vega, a clinical lecturer, in teaching students to handle all aspects of their pro bono, family-based cases.

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