Sunday, May 29, 2022

CLEA Outstanding Student Award: Texas A&M's Meghan Collier

CLEA Outstanding Clinical Student Award:  Texas A&M School of Law is nominating Meghan Collier for the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student Award for her work with the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Meghan enrolled in the clinic in the spring semester of her 2L year and continued to work in the clinic for two more semesters. During her time in the clinic, she played a crucial role in providing individual representation to women subjected to medical abuses at the Irwin County Detention Center, including screening them for humanitarian visas. She also represented one of the women in a motion to reopen that was filed with the BIA, as well as in her Eleventh Circuit appeal. She is currently preparing one of the women to testify before the U.S. Senate about her experience. Meghan’s crucial role in this project required collaboration with multiple partners and helped Texas A&M School of Law share in the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project.

Additionally, Meghan helped other individuals get released from detention during COVID-19 by filing requests for release under an injunction in a district court case called Fraihat. She also wrote an incredible appellate brief for a detained youth who had been granted SIJS but was still being deported. The powerful appeal brief, along with a habeas petition, helped secure his release from detention. In Fall 2021, Meghan won an asylum case in immigration court for an Egyptian citizen who had been tortured by the police for political reasons. This was a complex case that required extensive preparation of both the client and a medical expert.

Meghan has also handled cases referred to the Immigrant Rights Clinic by our Medical Legal Partnership with Cook Children’s Hospital. She is currently working on a request for medical deferred action for the parents of a child with severe disabilities who has required frequent hospitalization. The application she prepared will be used as a model by other students as we continue to develop our partnership with the hospital and incorporate more interdisciplinary approach to clinical work.

Not only is Meghan an exceptional advocate herself, but she been a wonderful mentor to other students in the clinic. For example, as an advanced student, she helped coach three other students who worked on a team with her to prepare the Egyptian asylum case. She also mentored two other students working with the women who had been detained at Irwin County. . . .

Meghan always had thoughtful comments to share with the class and was able to reflect on her experiences. She was also actively engaged when other students discussed their cases in rounds, offering suggestions and feedback. Meghan’s work has not only contributed to the community in North Texas, but to the national community by challenging fundamental problems with immigration detention and highlighting the need for more humanitarian approaches.

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