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Law students respond to an emergency request to file an asylum application

The process of applying for asylum can be exhausting and prolonged. Not only does an applicant need to retell their experience of being persecuted in their home country as part of the application—consisting of a twenty-two-page packet, personal statement, and country conditions—which must be submitted within a year of arriving in the United States. Failing to file an asylum application within one year of entry can be enough to defeat the claim.

In mid-August, two third-year law students at Lincoln Memorial University learned that a local immigrant needed his packet submitted within three days. They immediately started drafting a cover letter and scheduling meetings with the applicant to help him draw out his claim. Dedra Brown ’23 and Natalie Miramontes-Tankersley ’23 managed to help him complete and submit the asylum application just in time to meet the deadline.

With only three days to work with, the students pushed their already-busy schedules aside and reminded each other that this is why they are in law school. In fact, they chose Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law because of the school’s mission: to produce lawyers who want to change the world for the better, primarily in the Appalachia region. While one asylum packet does not change the world, their quick and determined response to an emergency filing request will help ensure that the asylum-seeker’s claims can ultimately be heard.

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