Connection to a Fresh Start
UB School of Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic
Around Central America, parents and their children are beginning a 1,000-mile trek to another country in search of a fresh start. On the other side of that trek are Stephan Gaines and Ryan Frace, student-attorneys in the University of Baltimore's Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC).
"The IRC, through its collaboration with Centro Sol, does some of the most fulfilling work I could hope to do as a law student," says Gaines.
Central Sol, a program housed at Johns Hopkins Hospital, provides medical, research, and outreach services for the Latinx population in Baltimore. This past semester, Gaines and Frace participated in the IRC's new legal advice and counsel clinic with the hospital.
The pair visited the hospital biweekly to interview patients about their immigration history and to counsel them on their options to gain legal residence in the United States.
"The individuals we encountered withstood abuse, violence, trauma, and hardship. Some patients cried recounting the conditions they endured in their home country," Gaines described. "My time with the IRC was the connection that allowed these immigrants to exchange their heartache for a fresh start."
However, that connection doesn't happen overnight.
With support from the clinic and hospital, Gaines and Frace were trained to conduct client-centered interviews, carefully asking questions and listening to their client's story. Following the interview, the pair needed to research the law, apply the law, and write a memorandum to support their client's case for asylum.
"That training is real-time, real-world training," Gaines explained. "We are working with real clients and making a real difference."
"And although these skills are valuable in any field, I have committed to practicing immigration law in the future because it is an area that actively animates one of America's core values – diversity."
Learn more about UB's Immigrant Rights Clinic.