Loyola Law Clinic
The Children’s Rights Clinic and the Immigration Clinic overlap in many ways. In my time at Loyola I’ve been able to answer incoming calls from both clinics. I’ve screened these calls for possible immigration relief. The calls are usually not just for one person but a combination of mom and child, parents and child, mom and siblings and their children, etc.
I have met with people who have possible relief and conducted in-person interviews. The interviews served multiple purposes. They were partly to identify the children who qualify for special immigrant juvenile status, relief for the parents, and possible cases for asylum seekers who need a pro bono attorney. By identifying asylum as a form of relief for the parent, it provides the child who is eligible for SIJS two opportunities to try to pursue relief. For the parents with viable asylum cases we provided asylum training, and I am currently pairing those cases with attorneys from the private bar who offered to take them on pro bono. I am currently already mentoring and working closely with some on these cases.
I have prioritized the special immigrant juvenile cases by their upcoming court dates. We have successfully obtained SIJS status for some children. I have even filed their I-360 petitions to help facilitate, expedite, and alleviate the large caseload at the clinic. I have also represented these children in their immigration court proceedings (and at times even their parents, at least in the interim while they are able to seek and obtain their own counsel).
I have had the honor of working with a number of amazing families who even more amazing stories. These clients are grandmothers, aunts, uncles, mothers, or fathers who are single-handedly providing for these children—children who have been prostituted, smuggled in trunks of cars, and a number of other traumatizing events. I have helped secure social services for some of the clients due to their dire need for mental health services.
I have translated for student practitioners, professors, and our pro bono attorneys. Overall, my work is centered around providing the best services to a number of children and their families securing family reunification and protection of a vulnerable population of children who cannot speak up for themselves, whether they’re two years old or seventeen. It has been a privilege to provide these services and I look forward to providing much more.