2013 CLINIC BIA Pro Bono Award:
CLINC is proud to recognize the hard work and dedication of those who support the BIA Pro Bono Project. This past May at CLINIC’s Annual Convening held in our nation’s capital, CLINIC presented the 2013 Pro Bono Award to the law firm Paul Hastings, for its outstanding efforts and steadfast commitment to defending immigrants who would otherwise not have access to counsel because they were detained.
In particular, this year CLINIC acknowledged the work of Rebecca Eggleston, an associate at Paul Hastings in its San Diego office. Ms. Eggleston represented a 25-year-old man who fled from Nigeria after he was persecuted by extremists because he was a convert to Christianity. The young man witnessed his mother, uncle, aunt, and their three young children burned alive by extremist attackers. The BIA Pro Bono Project picked up the case after the Immigration Judge denied the young man asylum, and Ms. Eggleston volunteered to represent the man before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for his appeal. Ms. Eggleston was successful on appeal, and the BIA sent the case back to the Immigration Judge with instructions for the Judge to receive additional evidence from Ms. Eggleston and the government. The Judge ignored these instructions and denied relief again. Ms. Eggleston again appealed to the BIA, and the Board remanded the case to the Immigration Judge for a third hearing.
At this third hearing, the Judge finally granted asylum to the young man, who was detained for 20 months during the course of the proceedings. Without Ms. Eggleston’s dedication and excellent litigation skills, the man would have been deported from the United States. Paul Hastings’ commitment to pro bono and, in particular, this case, exemplifies CLINIC’s mission to promote human dignity and protect the rights of immigrants.