Statement on the Trump Administration’s Decision To Restrict Asylum Access For Victims of Gang And Domestic Violence 6/11/2018

The Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic stands in support of domestic violence victims seeking asylum in the United States and has issued the following statement with regard to the recent ruling by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on June 11, 2018 announcing that domestic violence victims and other victims of crimes perpetrated by private, non-governmental actors do not generally qualify for asylum:

“With this single decision, AG Sessions has erased an important and heavily relied upon asylum development, a process that took almost 20 years. This decision, Matter of A-B- is detrimental to women seeking asylum from horrific forms of domestic violence in their home countries unable or unwilling to protect them. In addition, this decision could have more far-reaching implications for anyone who is the victim of violence committed by a private actor, such as violence targeting  LGBTQ individuals and individuals fleeing gangs and drug trafficking organizations. Moreover, this is not only an immigration issue, but also a humanitarian and women’s rights issues. Violence against women is an epidemic around the world, and to deny these victims protection from their perpetrators goes against the core of asylum law. The Clinic will continue to support our immigrant community, and we will closely monitor immigration policies and procedures in the United States.”

AG Sessions, as the head of the Department of Justice, oversees all immigration courts and has the power to overrule decisions of judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals and to set precedents. He has the authority to rewrite asylum law. This decision, Matter of A-B-, overturns the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision that a Salvadoran woman should receive asylum based on abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband and the police’s lack of action to stop it. Sessions’ decision has implication beyond A-B- herself. he also overturned a 2014 precedent from the Board of Immigration Appeals in a separate case that has been cited in numerous asylum cases of women who suffered domestic violence.

For questions regarding this statement please contact Lia Hyunji Kim-Yi at lkimyi@hphlegalaid.org or 847.737.4042.


Free Health Care Power of Attorney Clinic for Incoming and Current College Students

When:         Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 5:30 to 8 PM

Where:     Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic
491 Laurel Ave.
Highland Park

Click here to learn more.

Our Mission

The mission of the Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic is to provide pro bono legal services to low-income* individuals who live or work in Highland Park and Highwood in the areas of immigration, housing, and domestic violence.

*There are no income requirements for victims of domestic violence.

A Message from Mayor Nancy Rotering

We are fortunate to live in a community that celebrates diversity and steps up to help its neighbors. The Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic was founded on these principles.

In 2013, I created the City of Highland Park Human Services Task Force, a group of over 250 volunteers ranging in age from 17-85. We assessed needs and inventoried services available. A comprehensive human services plan was created and immediate outcomes led to creatively addressing various service issues, including access to affordable legal services, particularly for our senior and immigrant populations.

A Board of Directors was formed, sponsors and partners created a strong foundation and a mission was developed: focus strictly on the most emergent issues of housing, immigration and domestic violence cases, as these areas present an immediate risk to health and welfare. In addition, the Clinic does not pursue Federal funding, allowing all clients, regardless of immigration status, to be served. This significantly distinguishes the Clinic from other regional legal aid clinics.

We are proud to partner with the City of Highland Park, the City of Highwood, Open Communities, HACES, A Safe Place and Shalva. With their help and more than 100 volunteer attorneys and other community volunteers,  the Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic provides comprehensive services and referrals to clients. Working with our local school districts, clergy and  Moraine Township, outreach to those in need and volunteers who wish to serve is broad and coordinated.

The Clinic serves as a beacon to our most vulnerable neighbors.  The need for critical legal services continues to grow. We pledge to provide outstanding legal services. We are grateful for the strong support we have received in the past and as we head into the future.

Mayor Nancy Rodkin Rotering

Founder and Honorary Chair

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