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A Life-Changing Chance to Help Refugees

February 2018

BYU students in Texas

BYU students recently provided pro bono legal counsel to refugees in Texas as part of a donation-funded externship. More than an experience-building class project, their efforts may have actually saved lives.

Ten students spent five days in Texas preparing asylum-seeking refugees for interviews with government agents. Refugees can’t typically afford legal representation and often don’t know the local language of the country to which they’ve fled.

Courtney Young, one of the BYU law students, recalls a woman she counseled who had fled Haiti because of severe discrimination, was subsequently ill-treated as a refugee in two other countries, and eventually walked to the United States in hopes of finding safety.

Regardless of whether they ever work in immigration law, Young and her classmates saw the law in action, and many of them described the experience as life-changing.

“I learned a lot more from this experience than I would have just sitting in a classroom,” Young says. “I’ll never forget going to Texas.”

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