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Release: Immediate

UI law students discuss work as volunteers in political asylum program Jan. 29

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A group of University of Iowa law students who spent part of winter break providing free legal help to immigrants seeking political asylum in the United States will hold a panel discussion at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 in Room 285 of the Boyd Law Building to talk about their experiences.

The six students volunteered to help the Harlingen, Texas-based program, ProBAR, during the week Jan. 4 through Jan. 9. Working under the guidance of ProBAR attorneys, the students represented four people -- two from Guatemala, one from Honduras, and one from Jamaica -- in hearings before federal judges, asking that the immigrants be given political asylum in the United States.

In each case, the students were opposed by lawyers from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Sue Wasserkrug, a third-year law student on the trip, says the experience was educational and emotional.

"It was all you could do not to cry when you heard some of the stories of the people seeking asylum," Wasserkrug says. "It was an education in asylum law."

Other students on the trip were first-year student Eric Richard; and second-year students Sara Scott, Seung Kang, Russell Hess, Alex Mongiat.

Wasserkrug, vice president of the UI chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, says the Iowa chapter would like to send another group back to Texas to work for ProBAR during spring break.