CLINIC Fellows held their annual in-person meeting at Convening 2017 in Atlanta
The CLINIC Fellows program may have ended, but the journeys it sparked are just beginning. All original, non-attorney Fellows have received DOJ accreditation and those who came in as attorneys have put their legal training to the test and succeeded.
In all, the Fellows have helped their programs serve a total of 46,279 people over the past two years. They have more than doubled the amount of outreach and education events throughout the Southeast, having gone from a baseline of 151 annual events to 254 in the first year of the project and 398 in the second. This program led to 143 new community partnerships, including government agencies, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, private businesses and other non-profits.
While impressive, these numbers don’t convey the human aspect of the work the Fellows have done. For example, in August, Diana Castro of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association won her first asylum case. The client and his family, whose story was originally featured in our Las Posadas Navideñas resource, no longer live in fear of being deported. They are among the many lives the CLINIC Fellows Project has changed since 2015.
When the program directors were asked to highlight the best qualities of the Fellows, the most common words used were compassionate, resolute and detailed. They were impressed with how quickly the Fellows caught on, despite some having little to no background in immigration law. Moreover, the level of trust they built in their communities became an essential component of the each program’s outreach strategy.
The Fellows and their programs faced more than their fair share of challenges over the last two years, but they held their own and came out all the stronger for it. We commend their resilience and look forward to seeing them share their wisdom with future generations of Fellows when the time comes. Until then, we wish them the best on this new chapter of their careers.
The CLINIC Fellows program aimed to increase the reach of immigration legal services and public education in underserved areas by funding additional full-time legal representatives that worked with select CLINIC affiliates. It targeted eight states in the Southeast, in response to the heightened need for services in that region. For more information, visit https://cliniclegal.org/clinicfellows.