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Mississippi College clinic seeks to assist immigrant families

In its first year of operation, the Immigration Clinic at Mississippi College School of Law has provided legal help to immigrant families in the metro-Jackson area in a number of children’s immigration cases, including asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and U visas.

“Through this clinic, MC Law is not only supporting immigrant children in Mississippi, but also continuing to foster a new generation of lawyers committed to service in our state,” said Amelia McGowan, program director of the Migrant Support Center at Catholic Charities in Jackson. She practices immigration law and serves as the adjunct clinical supervising attorney for the Immigration Clinic at MC Law. 

The Immigration Clinic is a partnership between MC Law and Catholic Charities of Jackson. The clinic focuses on the representation of “unaccompanied alien children,” or children who enter the United States alone to flee abuse and persecution in their countries of origin. Through the clinic, student attorneys learn how to solve their clients’ real-life legal problems under the supervision of Professor McGowan, who conducts weekly progress reviews with each student in the clinic.

In the Immigration Clinic, one of eight at the law school, MC Law students step into the role of practicing attorney and provide direct representation to clients of Catholic Charities.

Third-year student Laura Barton recalled a day in class when she learned one of her motions had been granted. 

“As a law student, moving from writing for a grade to writing for a judge is rewarding,” she said. “Writing so that a child can pursue his case in court without worrying about ICE knocking on his door is even more rewarding.”

The clinic will continue in 2016-17.

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