2017. What a year it has been. We knew that it was going to be a bumpy ride in January, when visions of attorneys streaming into airports to help those arriving into the US. Those images were soon replaced with photos of immigration raids and families being torn apart. With the increase in enforcement activities, The Clinic became a very busy place.
The Clinic continues to handle approximately 175 cases at any given time during the year. Since opening its doors, The Clinic has represented countless citizens from a total of 32 countries, in keeping their families together, finding relief in their immigration cases and always having competent and aggressive representation in immigration court.
The Clinic has taken a critical role in providing representation for children who have come to the US fleeing civil unrest and violence in their home countries. Nearly half of those who are currently represented through The Clinic, almost half are children. While some are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status, many are seeking asylum because they are unable to return to their home countries. The statistics are clear that those who are represented by counsel in removal proceedings tend to increase their chances of success; something of great importance when the life of a child is in the balance. The Clinic is proud to be a part of these efforts.
Providing pro bono representation to those in need continues to be a priority for The Clinic. Closing out the year with 14 open pro bono cases, The Clinic continues its tradition of ensuring that no one faces the uncertainty of immigration court alone for a lack of resources. This year also brought about the first Clinic Colloquium, a full two-day program designed to educate and arm attorneys seeking to help in the face the onslaught of assaults facing immigrants and immigrant rights in a year full of challenges under these unique times. Nationally recognized immigration attorneys who are friends of The Clinic, converged in Kanas City from all areas of the country to help provide training and harness support. The Clinic could not have been more grateful.
Another first this year involved the Clinic participating in an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals case and argument. While not a normal matter for The Clinic, when Clinic attorney Genevra Alberti, realized that a legal issue faced by one of the Clinic’s clients had the potential to change the law for the better, she advocated for The Clinic being involved. And so it was. While the results of the argument remain unknown, what is clear is that The Clinic will go as far as the law allows to protect the rights of its clients.
Each year, The Clinic continues to grow. Whether it is in the number of countries represented, the nature of the cases handled or the dedication of its Board members, each year sees greater growth. The Clinic endures as a watchful and vigilant entity safeguarding the rule of law and the right to counsel. Yet, sustaining these efforts require resources. With this administration’s increased efforts on enforcement, interest in the field of immigration and the plight of immigrants has gained greater focus. The Clinic saw record number of small donations that have helped to propel the efforts forward. In time, it is hoped that these donations will become more consistent so that The Clinic may continue to rise to meet the needs of the indigent immigrant community.
Join our journey. Donate at www.TheClinicKC.org.