When Myanmar’s military junta tightened its grip in the late ’80s to quash a nationwide democracy movement, Yee Htun fled the brutal crackdown on dissent along with her mother, a doctor turned human rights activist, and three siblings. After five years in a refugee camp in Thailand, they immigrated to Canada as government-sponsored refugees, unsure of when they might return home.
In August, students and faculty from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program spent a week in Texas volunteering at the Karnes Detention Center, where they met with fathers and sons who had been forcibly separated from each other under President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. They offer their thoughts on this powerful and eye-opening experience.
Many HLS alumni and students are engaged in legal and advocacy work related to immigration, including the situations of refugees and asylum seekers. For some of these lawyers, this interest predates their time at HLS, but has dovetailed with their coursework and hands-on learning during their time as law students.
The founder and director of Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 received the Federal Bar Association’s NGO Lawyer of the Year Joint Award on May 18. She was honored alongside Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of the Law.
In recognition of their demonstrated excellence in representing clients and undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects, Amy Volz ’18 and Ha Ryong Jung (Michael) ’18 were named the 2018 recipients of the David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award, named in honor of the late Clinical Professor David Grossman ’88.
In his time at Harvard Law School, Ha Ryong (Michael) Jung ’18 has completed extensive coursework and clinical training in children’s rights, human rights and child protection, criminal justice, international and foreign law, and human rights advocacy and negotiation to shape a future career in child advocacy.
The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights First and Kids in Need of Defense in filing a brief of amicus curiae in the case Matter of A-B-, a case that originated in immigration court but that is now before review of the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
When the verdict came down, most of the litigation team was in the second row of the courtroom, leaning forward, tense with the waiting, trembling at times. But Thomas Becker ’08 was in the front row, arm around the shoulders of Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe, whose father was shot dead in the street all those years ago.