Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program
Working under the direction of HIRC’s Managing Attorney Phil Torrey, Crimmigration Clinic students Clarissa Lehne ’18 and Mike Ewart ’18 successfully argued before the Board of Immigration Appeals that their client’s conviction should not result in his detention and deportation.
“It was incredibly rewarding to see a tangible result of the work that we put in at the clinic,” said Lehne. Echoing her sentiment, Ewart further noted that “so much of law school is theoretical, the opportunity to apply the knowledge we learned in Phil’s Crimmigration class to an actual case was invaluable—and easier said than done.”
The client is a longtime lawful permanent resident who was convicted under a statute that criminalizes a broad range of conduct, including relatively minor conduct. The Department of Homeland Security argued on appeal at the Board that the immigration judge’s initial determination that the conviction did not trigger removal was wrong. The Crimmigration Clinic’s response brief demonstrated why the conviction did not categorically match a ground of removal in the immigration statute.
“For me this case underscores the importance of access to counsel in the immigration context (where there is no equivalent to the public defender system). Here, our client had a winning argument, but it was one that would have been extremely difficult to make without legal training and the resources we had at our disposal,” noted Ewart.
After the Board terminated the client’s removal proceedings he was released from immigration detention so that he could be reunited with his family.
The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Crimmigration Clinic and the Immigrant Defense Project issued two new resources for advocates and attorneys defending the rights of immigrants fighting removal to countries where they will be persecuted.
A report,“United States Failure to Comply with the Refugee Convention: Misapplication of the Particularly Serious Crime Bar to Deny Refugees Protection from Removal to Countries Where Their Life or Freedom is Threatened,” examines how U.S. implementation and interpretation of the “particularly serious crime” bar to withholding of removal and asylum in the U.S. fails to comply with the Refugee Convention. It also looks at how the U.S. diverges from the standards and practices of the international community and other countries.
Another resource,“Particularly Serious Crime” Bars on Asylum and Withholding of Removal: Legal Standards and Sample Case Determinations,” is designed to aid in the legal representation of immigrants in criminal and removal proceedings. Specifically, this chart is designed to help attorneys evaluate whether a criminal conviction constitutes a “particularly serious crime” barring asylum or withholding of removal.
Harvard Law School Lecturer on Law Phil Torrey, HIRC managing attorney and supervisor of the Crimmigration Clinic, helped create these resources, along with Clarissa Lehne ’18 and Collin Poirot ’18.
While a student at the Crimmigration Clinic at HLS, Lehne successfully argued before the Board of Immigration Appeals that her client’s conviction should not result in his detention and deportation. Poirot is current a Public Service Venture Fund Fellow working on immigrant rights at Project South.
Crimmigration—the intersection of criminal and immigration law—is the newest policy area for HIRC, one of oldest clinical programs at Harvard Law School. In addition to its broader Immigration and Refugee Advocacy clinic, HIRC offers Torrey’s crimmigration clinic in the spring: an opportunity for students to gain direct experience working on and contributing to case law in this field. Learn more about the clinic and read an interview with Phil Torrey at Harvard Magazine.
On September 20, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Crimmigration Clinic and the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) issued two new resources for advocates and attorneys defending the rights of immigrant fighting removal to countries where they will be persecuted:
Phil Torrey, HIRC Managing Attorney and supervisor of the Crimmigration Clinic, helped create these resources, along with HLS law students Clarissa Lehne and Colin Poirot.
Clarissa Lehne ’18 and Paulina Arnold ’18 worked in the Crimmigration Clinic on a brief to assist a lawful permanent resident facing deportation for a minor crime. The brief helped win the man his release, and the victory has important implications for other immigrants, says Lehne. Learn more about the project and clinical education at Harvard Law School: http://hvrdlaw.me/EGeE30lgcyU
Via Harvard Law School’s Facebook