Immigration Clinic Wins Asylum for Roma Man

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In a recent victory in immigration court, students from Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic prevented the deportation of a Roma man from the Czech Republic. Roma are a heavily-persecuted, largely impoverished community in Europe. In the last few years, four Czech cities erupted in anti-Roma demonstrations that ended in attacks on the homes of Roma people.

2L students Cecilia Criddle and Tatyana Krimus with client

2L students Cecilia Criddle and Tatyana Krimus litigated the case in court. 

“Going to court on behalf of our client was the most rewarding experience I have had so far in law school,” said Krimus. “Seeing the relief on our client’s face when the judge announced that he was being granted asylum was an experience unlike any other.” 

Prior students, 3Ls Mac Kenzie Sacks and Matthew Schulze, had started work on the case last semester.

The students highlighted the risk the client would face from a hostile population if deported. After almost 20 years in the United States, their client did not have any connections to the Czech Republic and no longer spoke its native language. Several other factors placed the client at even greater risk. 

Reflecting on the experience, Criddle said, “It took work with several experts, and the help of other clinic students, to build enough evidence to support our case. But that just made winning even better.” 

“This semester the students worked nonstop, barely pausing for Hurricane Irma, to develop the facts and theory of this case,” said Professor Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Clinic. “This victory is a testament to their hard work.”

The Immigration Clinic is part of Miami Law’s Clinical Program in which second and third year students represent clients and work on advocacy projects under the supervision of faculty members.