Published March 12, 2019
A group of UB Law students, including Chloe Nowak and Alexander Buszka, got an unexpected introduction to the practical applications of immigration law by assisting in the fight against the deportation of Kinimo Ngoran, an immigrant who made a home for himself in Albany, NY. Sarah Gillman and Gregory Copeland contacted UB School of Law professor Nicole Hallett to help argue Ngoran’s case in Rochester, and she pulled two students in to assist with legal briefs. On February 25, 2L Chloe Nowak stood before a judge for the first time to argue Ngoran’s case.
If the verdict comes in their favor, all who assisted with the case will have helped set a precedent for future deportation cases in New York.
Typically, we think of the U.S.-Mexico border as the main point of contention in immigration - but New York is a popular entry point for Canadian asylum seekers (via Buffalo) and has historically been very welcoming to refugees - the city took in 15,380 refugees from 2002 - 2017.
Approximately 22% of New York’s population are immigrants, according to data from the Office of the New York State Comptroller. A few more highlights from the report:
Because of this, Buffalo has historically been a destination for those who want to study immigration law. Recently, the UB School of Law also opened their U.S.-Mexico Border Clinic, a three-week intensive boot camp on refugee and asylum law that includes a trip to the South Texas Family Detention Center.
Immigration law is a highly controversial field that’s been spotlighted more in the last few years than ever before. ICE practices, including detention and deportation, have been under intense scrutiny.
With well-trained immigration lawyers like Gillman and Copeland, and a little support from the community, we can make forward strides to reform unjust immigration practices. To quote Nicole Hallett,
“It shouldn’t take a village to get someone out of immigration detention. We should have a system that treats people like human beings and recognizes their humanity; we need to reform our system so that this herculean effort isn’t necessary. But at this point, it is necessary.”