Assisting clients in gaining immigration status and asylum
Since the Safe Harbor Project was launched in 1997, more than 300 students have assisted their clients in gaining immigration status in the US. The clinic has secured asylum and/or related humanitarian relief for over 200 principal applicants in both the Asylum Office and Immigration Court.
We successfully pursued asylum cases up to the Second Circuit and to the Board of Immigration Appeals, sometimes litigating for years until we obtained relief. Over 75 immediate relatives (spouses and minor children) were also granted derivative asylum status. This relief often involved extended advocacy with consular staff.
Following the grant of asylum, the clinic has obtained lawful permanent residence for almost all of the asylees (including the derivative asylees). Many clients are now US citizens. The clinic also handled the petitions of VAWA clients who were either granted permanent legal residency or non-immigrant status.
In this clinic, students have learned how to interview and counsel their clients with particular emphasis on cross-cultural sensitivity, conducted international fact investigations, drafted documents and legal memorand, participated in asylum interviews, conducted examination at Immigration Court hearings, and argued before the Court of Appeals.
Our clients have come from more than 50 countries all over the world. Their claims have been based on:
- Their political activism, which often landed them in jail where they experienced beatings, torture and severe mistreatment
- Their sexual orientation which may have caused them enormous physical and/or psychological harm over a lifetime
- Their religion which caused them to be ostracized or physically harmed
- Their gender through FGM, domestic violence or forced marriage; or
- Their nationality as outsiders in a dominant culture
Director of the Safe Harbor Project
Faiza W. Sayed is the Director of the Safe Harbor Clinic and teaches courses in refugee law. Students in the Safe Harbor Clinic represent vulnerable immigrant populations in humanitarian immigration cases and engage in community empowerment projects to effect broader immigration reform.