Advocacy by students and staff in the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic culminated this month with a young Congolese refugee seeing her family for the first time in nearly four years.
Congolese parents embraced their daughter for the first time in years on Tuesday at a family reunification made possible by Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic.
Mbeleci Mabongye both wept and laughed as she wrapped her arms around her 18-year-old daughter, Badeux, after the two spotted each other at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
Badeux Mulondani had only minutes earlier arrived on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. Baggage claim is where she broke into a huge smile for her parents, brothers, and family friends. “I’m very happy,” Badeux said through an interpreter. “It’s a miracle! I could only imagine being here.”
Badeux Mulondani had been living in a refugee camp in Tanzania since her parents and brothers were resettled in the United States in 2016. Refugee officers in Tanzania had classified Mulondani under the care of her older married sister rather than the care of her parents – a paperwork decision that ultimately left Mulondani to fend for herself in the refugee camp while her family, once in the United States, worked to bring her to America.
Students and staff in Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic worked on her behalf to expedite processing. “I’d impressed it upon the people processing her case in Tanzania that she’s on her own in a refugee camp,” said Betsy Jenson, the immigration clinic’s program coordinator. “I don’t know if that’s what helped move things along.”
The reunification on February 10, 2020, was the second in as many months for students and staff in the Elon Law clinic. The clinic helped reunite in January an Eritrean man with his wife and young daughter.
For Badeux Mulondani’s family, the reunification was a milestone on their collective acclimation and assimilation into American culture and the Greensboro community. “It’s amazing. I feel so happy,” said Isac Mulondani, Badeux’s brother. “It’s been four years and this makes our family strong again.”