Family reunified with help from Elon Law immigration clinic
Elon's Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic assisted in bringing together a family caught up in political unrest in the West African country of Togo.
The reunification of Goldsboro, N.C. couple Victor and Louis Messan with their children, after fours years of separation resulting from civil unrest in the West African country of Togo, was featured on Raleigh’s WRAL Channel 5 evening news on Nov. 2. Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic worked with the Messans to get their six children to the United States from Benin, which borders Togo, where the children had stayed until their visas were approved.
"We got an e-mail basically from the embassy saying the visas had been approved," the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic's immigration counselor Andrew Haile said. "I got the chance to call Victor. Of course, Victor was very excited, and it was a really cool experience."
Elon Law students and clinic participants Kat Gosney and Lien To were present Wednesday evening at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport when the parents welcomed their children, ranging in age from 12 to 23.
“Work in the clinic goes beyond practical education--it brings invaluable perspective to students,” said Heather Scavone, Clinical Practitioner in Residence at Elon Law. “Cases like this one provide an excellent opportunity for the students to be able to witness the tangible and life-altering results of their advocacy efforts. Family unity may be something that we take for granted in the United States, but the hardship of family separation is something that many of the clinic's clients endure for years at a time.”
Victor Massan described the reunification to WRAL reporter Ken Smith.
"The American government really saved my life, and thanks to the American government, I found my life here today, and my children have too," he said.
Click here to watch the WRAL news report on the family reunification.
Click here for information about the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at Elon Law.