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Immigration and Human Rights Clinic Student Argues Asylum Case Before U.S. Court of Appeals

MAY 30, 2013—On May 15, clinic student attorney Gaelen Schumann (’14) argued before the Eighth Circuit on behalf of a client who had been tortured by military officials in his country of origin but was denied asylum because he filed his application 33 days after the one-year deadline in his case. The attorney on behalf of the government acknowledged that this was not a case that "felt good" but argued that the Court did not have jurisdiction to consider the denial.

The client came to the U.S. on a military training program. Several months after he arrived, he learned from his wife that his name was on a government blacklist. A few months later, his wife informed him that government officials had come to his house looking for him. They took his children for questioning and arrested his friends. The client applied for asylum five weeks later. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decided that because of these events and the subsequent time it took the client to apply for asylum he did not qualify for an exception to the one-year deadline; they denied asylum on that basis.

Student attorneys Gaelen Schumann (’14) and Hayley Steptoe (’14) and adjunct professor Emily Good (’03) partnered with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Pro Bono Litigation Project, represented by Benjamin Casper (’97), Kate Evans, and Sheila Stuhlman, to challenge the ruling and to argue that the Eight Circuit has jurisdiction over the question. This federal appeal follows the BIA proceedings in which Immigration and Human Rights Clinic students Jordan Sundell (’11), Kevin Lampone (’12), Matthew Webster (’11) and Jonathan Moler (’11) and Clinic Director and Supervising Attorney Stephen Meili submitted an amicus curiae brief on the congressional intent behind the one-year filing deadline and its exceptions.


e>Perspectives International Fall 2013


Gaelen Schumann

Gaelen Schumann (’14)