UHLC Immigration Clinic students help detained women prepare for asylum interviews 

Professor Janet Beck, left, and UH law students Anjali Baxi, Beatrice Adeoye, Roger Taveras, Norma Johnson, and Camille Yoder (not pictured) assisted immigrant women from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador during a recent trip to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.

July 27, 2015 –Five students in the Immigration Clinic at the University of Houston Law Center recently traveled to a family detention center southwest of San Antonio to prepare women for their upcoming appearances before immigration officials.

The students, led by visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Janet Beck, interviewed 69 women at the South Texas Family Residential (Detention) Center in Dilley the week-end of July 10-12.

The students prepped the women for their interviews with USCIS asylum officers as well as for hearings before the immigration judge on bond settings and reviews of negative decisions by asylum officers.

Most of the detained immigrants with positive decisions granted by USCIS asylum officers will be released pursuant to a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Beck said; the others will remain in custody until their trials.

The women, who have been detained with their young children at Dilley for several months, fled Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador because of death threats by gangs and/or physical abuse by their partners.

The student visit was coordinated by CARA, a coalition of non-profit agencies that provides pro-bono legal representation for the women detained in the Dilley center. (The acronym CARA stands for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and American Immigration Council). 

For more information about the Law Center’s Immigration Clinic, contact Associate Professor of Clinical Practice Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the clinic, at ghoffman@central.uh.edu, or Associate Professor of Clinical Practice Janet Heppard, director of the clinic program, at jheppard@uh.edu.

For questions about giving to the Immigration Clinic, contact Program Manager Thelma Baines at tmbaines@central.uh.edu.

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