Jan. 25, 2018 — Two student attorneys with the University of Houston Law Center's Immigration Clinic helped a young girl remain in the U.S. in a dispute involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in the Southern District of Texas.
Clinical Associate Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman served as lead counsel in federal court. The ruling by U.S. District Judge David Hittner was made on Jan. 12. The work on the case was a collaboration between the Civil Practice and Immigration clinics.
"I would like to congratulate our clinic students, Saif Ali and Dalya Alabbassi, as well as Clinical Supe rvising Attorneys Josephine Sorgwe and Rosemary Vega for their great work in federal court this month, as well as before and during the holiday break," said Hoffman, director of the Immigration Clinic.
In March 2016, the girl and her father were detained in the U.S. at the border after arriving from El Salvador. Upon the girl's release, she lived with her aunt in the U.S. Her mother had attempted to travel to the U.S. but before arriving at the border had to return to El Salvador.
The girl's mother later filed a lawsuit that contended her daughter's aunt was wrongfully retaining her in the U.S.
The court ultimately granted the Immigration Clinic's motion and dismissed the case based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Alabbassi is an LL.M. student and Ali is in his 2L year. Associate Professor of Clinical Practice Janet Heppard and Diane McManus, a clinical supervising attorney, served as subject matter experts on family law.