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CGJ Intern Update from Chelsea Mack

By August 11, 2016December 16th, 2019HIAS, Internship Grant Program, Maryland
The following blog post is written by Chelsea Mack, who is interning with HIAS this summer.

This summer I am interning with HIAS.  HIAS is an organization that focuses on protecting refugees around the world.  The organization has multiple offices worldwide, and I am working with the legal department in their office in Silver Spring, MD.

During the beginning of the internship, I was interning for HIAS remotely.
I eventually moved up to the DC area in order to work with the staff in person to finish out my internship.  I was afforded the opportunity to visit the office within the first few weeks and put faces with names.

For the remainder of my time working remotely, I was tasked with a few projects.  One of my projects included researching information about the political and humanitarian conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Before this summer, I was not familiar with the history of the DRC.  Now I understand some of the difficulties and hardships faced by many DRC citizens, particularly with the hostility surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.  The information I gather will be used for an applicant’s asylum petition.

When an applicant petitions for asylum status in the United States, the application must provide an explanation for the reasons an applicant is applying for asylum in the U.S.  In addition to showing a well-founded fear of persecution, an applicant also must establish that he or she is a member of a protected class.  There are five protected grounds identified by federal law that an individual may use to be eligible for asylum.  One of the grounds is “membership in a particular social group.”  I am in the process of drafting a short legal memo that provides case law analyzing the family unit as a particular social group.  This process involves discussing whether courts accept an applicant’s proposal of his or her relationship with his or her family being the reason for the persecution faced in the home country.

I am thoroughly enjoying this opportunity to work with HIAS.  The work is challenging, but it pushes me to hone my legal research and writing skills.  I look forward finishing my time with HIAS.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student intern.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.