A group of law firms have been working with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network in a first-of-its-kind program to help asylum seekers, and so far, it seems to be working.
Davis Graham & Stubbs, Gibson Dunn, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and WilmerHale have partnered with the immigration legal aid organization to offer assistance on a recurring and rotating basis to asylum seekers who are preparing for interviews that can determine whether they’re allowed to stay in the U.S. For RMIAN, having that constant flow of volunteers allows it to serve more people with less time spent training attorneys. The early results of the Preparing Asylum Seekers for Success, or PASS program, means it might soon be replicated in other parts of the country.
The program puts attorneys in touch with asylum seekers to prepare them for credible fear interviews — the step of the process where they give their story to an immigration judge and explain the risks facing them in their home country. David Hsu, an attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Denver, said they focus on strengthening their stories, much in the same way someone might prepare for a college application or job interview.
Often, their stories start out in general terms that would lead immigration judges to ask follow up questions in order to glean more information about why the person should be allowed to seek asylum in the U.S. By helping them tell a strong story from the start, the asylum seekers are able to present their situation and increase their chances of receiving a positive decision.