For their work with the Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) process, Miami Law's Health and Elder Law Clinic received the prestigious Clinical Legal Education Association's Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project. The award will be formally presented at the Association of American Law School Clinical Legal Education Section's national meeting in Baltimore on May 7.
"This is an important recognition of our students' hard work and dedication to responding to a time of great crisis in our neighboring country to the south," said Professor JoNel Newman, Director of the Health and Elder Law Clinic. "We are also pleased that the clinical legal academy is honoring the model we developed to respond to the crisis in a legal clinical setting."
Shortly after the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti on January 12, the Clinic began assisting Haitians with the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) process. TPS allows Haitians who resided in the U.S. prior to the January earthquake to work and remain in the country legally. The Clinic conducted a day-long TPS application drive at Jackson Memorial Hospital in late January. Over 150 applications have been completed and sent out, and the Clinic has received 14 approved TPS notices. The cases were taken in by the Health & Elder Law Clinic on January 22, and the final applications were mailed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on February 5.
In addition to assisting Haitians with the TPS process, the Clinic established a historic TPS Project alternative spring break program. The Clinic hosted visiting students from law schools across the U.S. to help with TPS cases, including students from the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, University of Memphis and Stanford University.
The Clinic also developed a comprehensive TPS training and processing model that may be universally deployed at any legal service institution or law school clinic.