Immigration Clinic Halts Deportation of Parents of U.S. Children

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Students in Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic recently prevailed in immigration court, stopping the deportation of a Guatemalan couple that has lived in the United States since 2002 and has three U.S. citizen children. 2L students Juanita Solis and Valori Corral-Nava litigated the case in court, arguing that the deportation of their clients would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to their children. The couple have two twin 13-year-old boys and a 10-month-old baby girl.

The legal case took several years to work its way to a final hearing. “Juanita and I may have been preparing for this hearing for months, but our clients had been preparing for years,” said Corral-Nava.

“Being a part of this case was a humbling and exciting experience,” said Solis. “After so many years, this family was finally able to obtain relief and I’m very glad we could help make that happen.”

In Guatemala, the clinic’s clients were part of the indigenous Mayan minority and suffered violence and discrimination. Now the father of the family is a pastor and the entire family is involved with community service through their church. The students highlighted the academic and extracurricular achievements of the twin boys, who are enrolled in college level courses while in middle school and who are musicians and play sports. One of the boys aspires to joining NASA and the other is interested in politics.

“We and our clients are thrilled with the result, especially given that immigration law provided only a narrow remedy for our clients. The students and their clients had to meet a high legal standard in court to prevail,” said Professor Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Clinic.

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.