It’s the “fourth quarter” of the game and you are brought in to save the day.

Except this is no game, this is a 10-year battle for asylum.

Your client is scheduled for his hearing but unable to attend as he has fallen extremely ill. You need to submit an emergency motion for a continuance but he is in no condition to tell the hospital to release his information. You visit him in person to assess how he is doing. You write an attorney affirmation and your motion is granted almost immediately. Your client survives his very serious illness but is not out of the woods. His doctors explain he has a better chance of recovering if he is in the care of loved ones. You submit an asylum filing nearly 600 pages long.

The day before your 30th birthday, your client is officially granted asylum. Due to the nature of his illness, he doesn’t fully understand who you are, but he tells you that he trusts you and knows you care about him. With his family’s permission, you advocate for cognitive rehabilitation services. You are excited to help him realize his dream of being reunited with his family after almost 10 years apart.

This is the true story of Andréa Nunes, an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow who has been working with us at LSSNY to assist individuals applying for asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status relief.

Says Victor Yee-Ling Cheng, Supervising Attorney and Justice Fellow ’18, “Over the past year, our IJC fellows were crucial to LSSNY’s ability to provide rapid legal assistance to recently arrived immigrants to New York City. Justice Fellows have increased equity and access to immigration justice by handling a diversity of cases including assisting people from under-represented African diaspora populations.”

As evidenced by this story, there is quantitative victory — IJC Fellows win more than 90% of their immigration cases — and then qualitative success, where fellows provide support and advocacy as their clients navigate the immigration system, illness, and other challenges.

Read more about Andréa Nunes.