Representing asylum seekers before Federal Immigration Court and in interviews before Asylum Officers
The Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES), is an international human rights and immigration clinic. Students represent refugees who have fled human rights abuses in their home countries and seek religious or political asylum in the United States. Working in pairs, CARES students are assigned to represent from beginning to end one or more refugees fleeing human rights abuses in a court proceeding before an Immigration Judge. Every semester the work of CARES students results in saving the lives of their clients and reuniting their clients with family members.
In the past, CARES has represented and won asylum for refugees from countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Mauritania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, The Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Global conditions, among other factors, will determine where CARES concentrates its resources.
What is asylum?
Throughout the world today people are suffering from human rights abuses – they live under constant fear of governments that forbid them from exercising rights that we hold dear as fundamental freedoms and persecute them if they try.
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries Asylum from persecution.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 14(I)
Asylum is an immigration status that the U.S. government confers on people who have fled persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries because of who they are (their race or nationality), what they believe (their religion or political opinion) or their social group.
Throughout its history, the United States has been a sanctuary for oppressed people from around the world. The Pilgrims, the Quakers, the Huguenots, the Amish, and countless others came to U.S. shores in centuries past to seek refuge from government oppression. Pennsylvania became a safe haven to many of those victims of government oppression.
Human rights abuses similar to those that caused Pennsylvania's first settlers to flee continue today in many parts of the world. CARES helps the victims of these human rights abuses to obtain asylum protection.
Faculty: Professor Michele Pistone
Credit Hours: Eight
- CARES satisfies the practical writing requirement.
Time Commitment: 30-35 hours/week
Semesters Offered: Fall and Spring
Application Process: Selection for admission to the CARES Clinic is through application.
Students wishing to apply to CARES must answer the two essay questions (listed below) and submit their completed application (including contact information and year of graduation) and resume to the CARES paralegal, Debbie Rubino at firstname.lastname@example.org, by the application deadline (the deadline is posted during the Spring registration period).
Please answer the following two questions, include as much detail as you think is necessary for us to evaluate your application:
- What is your intention for participating in the CARES clinic? What would you like to take away from the experience?
- What experiences have you had that may make your participation in the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services valuable to its other members? (You might describe prior experience with people from other countries or cultures or with human rights or immigration law, prior experience in fact investigation, acting experience, writing experience, hobbies, or anything else you think might be relevant. Include any language abilities and fluency levels.)
Extra Classes: During the Orientation Period (usually the first 3 or 4 weeks of the semester), there will be extra classes each week. The classes will be scheduled before the semester begins based on students’ academic class schedules and availability.