This month, Chapman University Fowler School of Law students in the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic, along with Professor Julie Marzouk, conducted a legal training for more than 60 professionals to explain the means by which immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking can obtain lawful immigration status.
The audience included court-appointed victim advocates, attorneys, paralegals, domestic violence shelter legal advocates, and Board of Immigration Appeals-accredited immigration representatives.
“The immigration law training allows students in the Family Protection Clinic to magnify their impact,” said Professor Marzouk, Assistant Clinical Professor of the Family Protection Clinic. “The legal and social service advocates who attended will use the information to screen for immigration relief and for client safety planning and evidence-gathering. These trainings allow thousands of victims to be reached, as each service provider meets with hundreds of victims each year.”
Further, Professor Marzouk continued, “the relationships the clinic forges with legal and social service providers allows our clients to receive holistic domestic violence-related services and fosters effective legal referrals to the Family Protection Clinic.”
“Trainings such as these are vital in our community because they reach individuals who are often the first point of contact for victims of domestic violence,” said Omaraid Guerrero (JD ’17), who is enrolled in the clinic and helped lead the training. “By empowering professionals with knowledge about immigration law, we take a step closer to addressing the problem of domestic abuse in immigrant populations which often goes unreported due to fear of deportation.”
Mario Oropeza (JD ’18), who also helped lead the training, commented that “the clinic provides a great opportunity for students to help survivors of domestic violence while also allowing students to gain experience in the complex world of immigration law. I truly recommend students take this clinic or any other clinic offered at Chapman because each provides an opportunity to gain practical skills.”
Students in the Bette and Wiley Aitken Family Protection Clinic provide direct representation to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in petitions for immigration relief. Victims who receive immigration status gain self-sufficiency and security as they move past victimization and are authorized to lawfully work and provide for their families.