Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Law School Students Help Provide Legal Assistance to Asylum-Seeking Mothers, Children

News Release — Vermont Law School
March 29, 2016

Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
office: 802-831-1228, cell: 802-299-5593, [email protected]

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., March 29, 2016––This month a group of Vermont Law School students volunteered with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Texas to provide legal assistance to asylum-seeking mothers and children being held at detention centers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The students will share their volunteer experiences during a panel discussion from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 4, in Yates Room, Debevoise Hall, at VLS. The event is free and open to the public and press.

“The women and children are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and they are all escaping extreme gang violence and domestic abuse,” said Cornelia Alvarez ’16. “We spent the week providing information on asylum law, preparing women for their credible-fear interviews with asylum officers, attending credible-fear interviews, representing women in bond hearings, and helping women appeal negative credible-fear decisions.”

Alvarez volunteered at Dilley and Karnes, Texas, detention centers with Erin Jacobsen ’11, a South Royalton Legal Clinic staff attorney who specializes in immigration and asylum cases, and fellow students Aisatou Diallo ’17, Helene Combes ’16, Natalie Donis ’17, Santiago Romero ’17, and Vivian Moreno-Zelinka ’16. During the VLS panel, they will share their experiences, explain the legal protections and processes for Central American asylum-seekers, and discuss ways to continue helping Central American refugees.

CARA Project partners include Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, American Immigration Council, and American Immigration Lawyers Association. For more information about CARA, visit

For more information about the VLS panel, email [email protected].

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