TU College of Law Students Help Clients Escape Abuse and Violence

Friday, April 23, 2010

Law students and faculty with the Immigrant Rights Project at The University of Tulsa College of Law are celebrating another successful year after securing immigration relief for a number of clients, including two clients from Kenya and Mexico who were granted relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

IRP 2010

Second-year law students Meghan King and Matt Williams assisted a native of Kenya who was seeking permanent residence status through VAWA. The students worked with the client over the course of the semester to prepare her for an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service in Oklahoma City. The students also represented their client at the interview on March 12. A week later, the students learned that their client’s petition had been approved. 

Angela Beeson (J.D. ’09) and Shawna Staudt (J.D. ’08) also worked with this client during the early stages of her immigration petition process. 

“This client has been working with the clinic since 2008 in her effort to obtain legal residence and escape an abusive marriage to her U.S. citizen husband,” said Elizabeth McCormick, associate clinical professor of law and director of the Immigrant Rights Project. “This will allow her to live and work in the U.S. and to escape once and for all the horrific abuse she endured.”

A VAWA petition also was filed for a client from Mexico, who was initially represented over a period of more than two years by alumni Samantha Sierakowski Marshall (J.D. ’09) and Matt Stewart (J.D. ’09). Later, third-year law students Caleb Overstreet and Lenora Gulley, with assistance from legal fellow Rebekah Guthrie (J.D. ’07), worked on behalf of this client, whose petition was granted March 19.

“The client is thrilled and relieved to finally know that she no longer has to fear harm from her husband or separation from her two U.S. citizen children,” McCormick said.

The Immigrant Rights Project is a clinical education program of the TU College of Law where students represent noncitizens in immigration matters under the supervision of faculty. During the four years clinic students have represented clients, more than 50 have been granted some form of legal immigration status. 

Jimmy Hart