Students participating in the the Texas A&M University School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic won protection under the Convention Against Torture for a client from Somalia last week. The court found a greater than 50 percent chance of future torture with government acquiescence. This is an extremely difficult type of case to win, according to TAMU Law Professor and Director of the Immigrants Rights Clinic Fatma Marouf. Nationwide, only 1.8 percent of applications under the Convention Against Torture were granted in 2017.
When the TAMU Law clinic students took on the case last spring, the client was detained in Texas with a deportation order and on the brink of being sent back to Somalia. He had also been badly abused in immigration detention. Students and advisers obtained an emergency stay of removal, reopened his case and won it. The client will now be able to live and work safely in the United States.
Six students in the clinic worked very hard on the case this semester: Claire Brown, Loren Elkins, Craig Hargrove, Karina Rios, Matt Smith and Tom Watson. Three of them, Craig, Loren and Tom, handled the trial before the Immigration Court in Aurora, CO last week. The trial involved not only lengthy testimony by the client but also two expert witnesses (a medical expert and a country conditions expert) plus a lay witness. Additionally, the students submitted hundreds of pages of supporting documents and wrote two complex briefs.
The Immigrant Rights Clinic at Texas A&M School of Law engages law students in direct representation of immigrants before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and U.S. Courts of Appeals. Representation focuses on deportation defense, particularly for individuals in immigration detention, as well as affirmative filings for survivors of crimes and abuse.
Anyone with limited financial resources in need of legal counsel related to immigration may contact the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Clients are selected based on a variety of factors, including educational value to the law students, potential impact on society or communities and timing.