Leaving It All On The Court
Voice Magazine / Stories / 2023 Winter / Leaving it All on the Court

Leaving it All on the Court

College of Law and Public Service students score a victory in recent asylum case under the coaching of Krystal Rodriguez-Campos.

In the world of both legal and basketball courts, the pursuit of victory takes the center.

Individuals seeking asylum in the United States can turn to the University of La Verne’s Justice and Immigration Clinic for a win in the immigration courts.

Law students participating in the clinic gain real-world legal experience through pro bono services offered to the public under the coaching of Krystal Rodriguez-Campos, professor of law and associate dean of the College of Law and Public Service.

An Afghanistan woman recently scored victory in her asylum case with the clinic on her team. Two years ago, she was targeted by the Taliban regime in her home country for her involvement with basketball and advocacy for women’s rights. It became too dangerous for her to stay at home with her family and children. She was evacuated and sought refuge in the U.S.

The University of La Verne’s clinic readied to jump in. Recent graduate Andrea Orozco, JD ’23, and 4L senior Yue Zhang ’23 represented the client before the Los Angeles Asylum Office. Always the cohesive team, they worked tirelessly to prepare the case. They sprang into action, gathering evidence and documents as the shot clock ticked down, signaling a limited amount of time to prepare the case and meet the asylum application deadline.

“I was nervous,” Zhang said. “But this experience was important for me. I saw all that was needed to process this case. Professor Rodriguez-Campos set a high standard for us and taught us how to create documents for this immigration case.”

Zhang himself emigrated from China. Previously a reporter for Chinese media, his new position in life is to help others going through the U.S. immigration system.

“I want to be a good lawyer and help those people in my community to get high-standard legal service,” Zhang said.

Their teamwork and dedication paid off when, after a year of legal hearings, their client was recently granted asylum. Her journey is not just a personal championship moment; it is a team triumph for the human values of justice, equality, and resilience.

As a mother of three, Orozco empathized with their client and stayed with her every step of the way throughout the challenging process, so she never felt alone.

“She did what she had to do for her own well-being. Her choice to leave her family was difficult, but very admirable. She is a great example to have. I consider her a friend now,” Orozco said.

Orozco will be joining Zhang in taking the California bar exam in February. If it was not for La Verne’s part-time program, she believes she might not have been able to balance her additional responsibilities as a mother and realize her dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer.

With the dedication of Rodriguez-Campos, Zhang, Orozco, and their undergraduate interns, this team can successfully say that they truly left it all on the court for their client.