Detroit Mercy Law Immigration Law Clinic secures asylum status for African activist

June 14, 2024

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Immigration Law Clinic recently secured a grant of asylum status for an opposition activist from a West African country.

Clinic students Simran Bhimani Dual ’24 and Hannah Lynn ’24 worked on the asylum case. Lynn finalized preparations for the trial and conducted a direct examination of the applicant before the Chicago Immigration Court. Lynn was the first chair in the immigration court hearing under the supervision of Professor Alex Vernon, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic.

“Working on this case helped me improve my overall client communication skills,” said Lynn. “I have learned how to interact with clients that have been tortured and detained. It has been a new experience for me to have to balance the needs of the client’s immigration case alongside the client’s mental well-being.”

“This win has been the culmination of clinical student work over the past two years, starting when our client was detained upon arrival at O'Hare international airport,” explained Vernon “The clinic collaborated with the Racine Dominican sisters, Viatorian brothers and, other community partners to secure the applicant’s release on parole, shelter and other support.”

“I have learned that there is a lot more to each client’s story than initially can meet the eye. It is incredibly important to develop a strong relationship with your client based on trust and communication,” explained Lynn.

“This case has been typical of the collaborative working strategy that exposes clinic students to the widest possible range of resources to secure relief for our clients seeking protection from persecution, relief from serious criminal victimization, family reunification and other humanitarian benefits,” said Vernon.

Detroit Mercy Law, inspired by the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, educates lawyers who are committed to the pursuit of justice, service to others, and the highest standards of the legal profession. The school’s clinical program is among the oldest in the United States, founded as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965. Today, in addition to the Immigration Law Clinic, the clinic program has expanded to operate twelve law clinics. Detroit Mercy Law students gain valuable legal skills and experience while providing thousands of hours of client services each year.

To learn more about Detroit Mercy Law’s clinics, visit