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Monday, October 2, 2023


Grad students win humanitarian parole for Iraqi

Two students at the UH Law Center and their advisor have helped a young Iraqi man receive humanitarian parole and reunite with his family after they were forced to leave Iraq because of their Christian beliefs.

Humanitarian parole allows someone who ordinarily would not be permitted to enter the US to temporarily take refuge in the country for urgent humanitarian reasons.

Xiao Chen, a recent law school graduate, and Yolande Ditewig, a master of law candidate, took the case with the Director of the Immigration Clinic at the UH Law Center, Geoff Hoffman, when the man’s mother came into the clinic after having no success with other nonprofit organizations in Houston.

“(Ditewig) completed the initial packet which was submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This included the humanitarian parole petition as well as gathering all the evidence to support the petition. The students also met with the petitioner (his mother here in the US). Chen then handled a second petition in which we submitted more evidence,” Hoffman said.

By winning humanitarian parole, the man will be able to seek asylum in the US with his family.

“The students worked extremely hard on this challenging case,” said Hoffman in a press release. “In the process, they learned a range of new skills (while) keeping the client’s goals in sight at all times, and most importantly, never giving up.”

Complex immigration cases like this one are not foreign to UH law students. 10 to 20 of them are chosen each year to work on cases through the immigration clinic.

Their participation in the clinic allows them to learn important skills such as interviewing clients, research, writing, advocacy and case preparation.

“The (immigration) clinic, as this case highlighted, is a resource for the Houston community members who may have no other place to turn for legal assistance relating to complex issues of immigration law,” Hoffman said.

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