The Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic

Elon Law Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic magazine article imageElon 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.

Read a 2013 article about the clinic here.

The Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic fills an urgent need in the Triad region, which receives more than a quarter of approximately 2,000 refugees resettled in North Carolina annually through the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. Legal services to refugees and those seeking asylum had been provided by Lutheran Family Services (LFS) for more than 20 years until LFS closed its Greensboro office on Sept. 30, 2010.

Applicants for refugee or asylum status must demonstrate that they were persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, and must meet other legal criteria. The Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic assists clients in applying for political asylum, permanent residency, citizenship, and employment authorization, as well as reunifying families separated by war and conflict.

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.

Pictured at right, the first class of Elon Law students participating in the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at Elon Law, from left: Alexander Pham, Matthew White, Christopher Beal, Megan Risen Hitchens, Ivy Oakley, Carrie Oxendine, Meredith Thompson, and Keely Sewell.

The law school anticipates that the clinic will handle approximately 500 to 600 refugee and asylum cases annually in its initial stages, serving clients from numerous countries. In recent years, refugees resettling in Guilford County have come from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Laos, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan, among others.

Each student participating in the clinic spends at least 107 hours per semester representing clients and 13 hours per semester in classes associated with the clinic. The clinic is housed in Elon Law’s Clinical Law Center at 210 West Friendly Avenue in Greensboro, N.C.

The North Carolina Refugee Assistance Program, part of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, has selected the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at Elon University School of Law to be an official program provider to refugees in the state for elderly citizenship and naturalization services.

Recent News

Burlington Times-News, Sept. 22, 2014: Putting into practice: Elon's Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic offers a place to turn

Elon Law hosts fourth annual Immigration Law Seminar

Heather Scavone presents on laws effecting refugees and asylees at immigration conference

Elon Law's Heather Scavone featured as News & Observer 'Tar Heel of the Week'

Family reunification enabled by Elon Law students featured on Fox news

News & Record, Nov. 24, 2013, Columnist Jeri Rowe's article on the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic

News & Record, Nov. 6, 2013: "Family torn apart by war reunited in Triad"

WFMY News 2, Nov. 6, 2014: "Separated by War, African Family Reunites in Triad"

Third annual immigration law seminar held at Elon Law

Heather Scavone presents on effective representation of asylees and refugees at Creighton University School of Law - March 6, 2012

Former refugee achieves dream with help from Elon Law clinic - Feb. 24. 2012

Family reunified with help from Elon Law immigration clinic - Nov. 2, 2011

Second annual immigration law seminar held at Elon Law

Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic hosts regional immigration law seminar - April 28-29, 2011

The April 28-29, 2011 seminar organized by the faculty, staff and students of the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at Elon Law featured presentations by immigration law scholars and practitioners, law enforcement officials, and leaders of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Dozens of non-profit immigration service providers and attorneys specializing in immigration law attended the event.

Contact Information:

Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic
Elon University School of Law
P.O. Box 5848
Greensboro, NC 27435

Phone: (336) 279-9299
Fax: (336) 272-9667

Faculty and Staff:

Heather Scavone
Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic

Hoang Lam
Clinical Practitioner in Residence