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Students Report on Their Work With a Client Facing Long Standing Challenges in Immigration System

Last Spring, clinic students Nikki Marquez ’15 and Kara McBride ’15 worked with an Immigrants’ Rights Clinic client who had spent over 10 years seeking permanent status in the U.S. after escaping extreme conditions in her homeland. Read on for Nikki and Kara’s account of the experience.


Nikki Maarquez and Kara McBride prepare for court hearing.

Kara McBride and Nikki Marquez at work on their client’s case.

As we began our client work, we were shocked at the volume of binders that came with her file. As her new advocates, we joined a line of attorneys who had gone before us to seek relief for our client. She had tried several different possibilities without success: it seemed at times as though there were no options left. She has been through an unimaginable struggle to get where she is today. This journey has included fleeing political persecution and violence in her home country, severe domestic abuse in her new country and, at times, an unforgiving  criminal justice system.

Despite her many years living in this country and over a decade seeking relief from the immigration system, she is still hopeful for a permanent life in the United States with her children. After fleeing a horrifying past in her home country, our client and her children are thriving here but this life is still lacking a sense of security, due to her immigration status.

Through our legal research and advocacy, we provided our already informed client with knowledge to better understand the challenges of her case; what had happened in the past; and the potential paths to relief. We were humbled by our client’s resilience and positivity and are deeply grateful for the experiences we shared, both personally and professionally. While there are still challenging legal arguments ahead, we are deeply excited to have found a potential strategy for her to obtain a “green” card. By the end of the Spring quarter, we had begun this process for our client by drafting a declaration with her. We cannot believe more firmly in our client or her case.    ◊

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