Elon Law grad featured on WRAL for immigration work
Before she graduated in May, Angelique Ryan L'16 traveled to Ethiopia to advocate for a family separated by war, and a top North Carolina television station covered that family's reunification this week at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
A spring graduate of Elon Law was featured on one of North Carolina's top news channels in June for her work while a student to reunite a Somali family separated by war.
Angelique Ryan L'16 created an independent study abroad program during her final winter in school to travel to Ethiopia with legal documents she had prepared through Elon Law's Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic. She used those documents to argue for the issuance of a visa to a man whose family had sought the clinic's assistance.
Ryan worked with Elon Law Assistant Professor Heather Scavone, the clinic's director, and had discovered "a great deal of obstructionism" in the case.
Mohamed Mohamed had not seen his mother in 14 years. Four of his siblings had been murdered in Somalia and his remaining three siblings were allowed to come to America four years ago, making him the last member of his immediate family to remain outside the United States.
Ryan's advocacy led to Mohamed being reunited with his family on June 29, 2016, at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. WRAL-TV was on hand to witness the reunification.
"It was very difficult to get any answers as to why this young man was denied entry to the U.S.," Ryan said. "I pleaded my case to several consular officers at the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, and both myself and Heather Scavone have had continued conversations with different governmental agencies leading up to getting final approval for him to come here."
Even after convincing American authories to issue a visa, Ethiopian immigration officials would not allow Mohamed to leave the country without paying a fine of $1,200. Refugees are not allowed to legally work in Ethiopia and Mohamed's mother, Saadia Abdi, works for minimum wage cleaning hotels in Raleigh, leading Ryan to create a GoFundMe online fundraising page.
"Through the help of amazing friends and family, I was able to raise the funds for him in 48 hours and he paid the fines and was issued all clearance to come to America," Ryan said.
Elon University School of Law established the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic in December of 2010, allowing students under the supervision of law faculty to provide free legal services to low-income refugees and asylum seekers in North Carolina.
Under the supervision of law faculty, Elon Law students manage all aspects of refugee and asylee cases, meeting with clients, performing intake interviews, analyzing cases for legal remedy, gathering evidence, drafting and filing applications and briefs, and maintaining client correspondence. Students also observe and participate in hearings before federal administrative agencies and courts.