Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

261.74 sec. 001 - Asylum Law Seminar (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Kyra Maura Sanin Lilien  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 2
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


M 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 111
From January 09, 2023
To April 25, 2023

Course Start: January 09, 2023
Course End: April 25, 2023
Class Number: 33185

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 9
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 16
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

This course requires enrollment in the accompanying one-unit practicum. The Asylum Law Seminar and Practicum will afford students the real-life experience of representing an Afghan family before the U.S. government, while receiving expert instruction, support, and guidance in the classroom.

During the seminar portion of the course, students will learn about the origins and elements of asylum eligibility in the U.S. After four weeks of focus on doctrine, students will be assigned an asylum client. Working in pairs, students will use the practicum portion of the course to prepare their client’s asylum application for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).

Over the remaining ten weeks of the semester, the seminar portion of the course will be split between additional doctrinal teachings during the first half of each class meeting and practical support for case preparation in the second half.

During the doctrinal portion of the course, students will learn about the Refugee Convention and its implementation in the U.S. through the Refugee Act. By the end of the semester, students will have mastered the concepts of persecution, nexus, and the five protected grounds, as well as bars to asylum eligibility.

During the practical portion of the seminar, students will learn how to complete an asylum application form, elicit testimony, draft their clients’ declaration, conduct country research, gather evidence, and compile a full case ready for submission.

We will reserve a portion of each seminar for “case rounds” to answer student questions and troubleshoot any particular challenges which may arise in a given case. Office hours will also be available for additional case preparation support. Students will have the OPTION of representing their clients at an asylum interview before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in San Francisco.

Reading assignments will be brief and concentrated in the first 10-11 weeks of the semester. The last three weeks of the seminar will be reserved for peer review, troubleshooting, and guest lectures from local refugee-serving professionals.

Clients will be Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan in August 2021 and resettled by Jewish Family & Community Services – East Bay (“JFCS East Bay”). JFCS East Bay is one of two refugee resettlement agencies in the East Bay. Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, JFCS East Bay has resettled more than 740 Afghans in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The vast majority of these individuals have only temporary status in the U.S., and they need to apply for asylum in order to rebuild their lives in this country. The instructor, Kyra S. Lilien, is the director of the Immigration Legal Services program at JFCS East Bay.

(If Congress passes an Afghan Adjustment Act before the start of the spring semester, Afghan evacuees will not need to apply for asylum. In that case, the focus of this class will likely shift to Ukrainian or Nicaraguan asylum seekers, as JFCS East Bay is seeing a high volume of these cases as well.)

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
International and Comparative Law

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