Immigration Clinic Halts Deportation of Mother of Eight

The federal government was seeking to deport their client, a woman from Colombia who had come to the United States as a teen and has eight children, all U.S. citizens.
Immigration Clinic Halts Deportation of Mother of Eight

Immigration Clinic students Ummul-Baneen Jafry, Jodi Lewis, Sissi Lopez Diaz Jensen, Alexandra Buroz Morales, and Diana Alonso

Five law students from Miami Law's Immigration Clinic traveled to Orlando's immigration court for a three-hour hearing before a judge, which ended in a victory for their detained client who was facing deportation. 

Third-year students Sissi Lopez Diaz Jensen and Jodi Lewis and 2Ls Ummul-Baneen Jafry, Alexandra Buroz Morales, and Diana Alonso worked over 1,230 hours preparing their client's case, obtaining medical and criminal history documents, speaking with experts, and preparing testimony from family members. The students submitted over 250 pages of supporting documents and legal arguments before appearing in court to conduct the hearing, which involved direct testimony and redirect after cross-examination by the government prosecutor and opening and closing statements.

"As an immigrant and first-generation law student, this case has been the most meaningful experience of my law school career," said Lopez Diaz Jensen. "I am humbled to have played a role in advocating on behalf of people in our community, and thankful to have done it alongside my clinic peers and supervisors."

Noting the high level of the students' preparation, the immigration judge granted the client's case at the end of the hearing, allowing her to be released immediately and reunited with her family. 

Reflecting on their experience, Jafry said, "there was a point I reached while working on this case where I thought, 'My partners and I are the only ones who see the beautiful light our client exudes,' and it both broke my heart and gave me a newfound strength to make sure I do everything in my power to help her win her case."

"Working with the Immigration Clinic, specifically with detained clients facing difficult circumstances, has had such an impact on my law school experience,” said Lewis. “Thank you to my clinic supervisors and peers. I look forward to continuing my service to the South Florida community."

Established in the fall of 2009, the Immigration Clinic offers a challenging opportunity for students to advocate for immigrants in various complex immigration proceedings. In addition to helping individual clients, students collaborate with other immigrant rights groups on projects that reform the law and advance the cause of social justice for immigrants.

Applications to all law clinics for next academic year and this summer are now open.

Read more about Miami Law’s clinics.