Classroom Exercises in Asylum Advocacy

February 1, 2013 by Dennis Hughes

Classroom Exercises in Asylum Advocacy

Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)

Georgetown University

Over the years, the Center for Applied Legal Studies has made several videos that we use during classes at our asylum clinic. These videos, with instructions for their use, are password protected and linked from this page. They are being made available only for classroom and training use.

To obtain the passwords if you do not have them already, please email Prof. Philip Schrag at Georgetown University Law Center, Please specify the institution in which the video will be used and the purpose for which it will be used.

The three videos are:

1. An asylum interview. A simulated initial interview (in English) of a potential asylum client, in which the untrained interviewer makes many mistakes. Students call out “stop” every few seconds when they see the interviewer doing something well or poorly (mostly poorly), and the class discusses what they have seen, and how the interviewer could have done something better. The video is only 19 minutes long, but the discussion can take an entire class period. View the video and download the teacher’s manual for this interviewing exercise.

2. An interview with bad interpretation. A 9 ½ minute initial interview using an interpreter (the cousin of the client), in which the interpreter fails to interpret literally, and interposes her own information about events in the client’s country, and thereby creates problems for the interviewer. Students watch the interview and can discuss how the interviewer could have handled the situation better. View the video and information about it.

3. A rough immigration court hearing (The “Metara” hearing). A 15 minute video re-enacting excerpts from an actual asylum hearing before an immigration judge who takes over the proceeding and makes it almost impossible for the advocate to put on her case. The tape itself instructs the teacher to stop the recording at five points to lead a discussion. An accompanying teacher’s manual gives teachers suggestions for discussing issues that the students may raise. This video requires about takes an hour to an hour and a quarter for full discussion. View the video and download the teacher’s manual.

To view the videos, you will need Quicktime, a free download that is already loaded on most computers, in our experience. However, we have found that some computers are only able to run the videos if the pages are accessed in Internet Explorer, as opposed to Mozilla or some other product. On other computers, any browser will do.

Law teachers may use these materials in class without further permission. However, please do not copy or make these materials available more generally, without such permission from the Center for Applied Legal Studies.