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YU News

Cardozo Students Win Prestigious Award

Frances Grail-Bingham ’24 and Cara Hernandez ’24, students in the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic, received the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Team Award for successfully representing an elderly, long-term U.S. resident in his merits (trial-type) hearing before the New York Immigration Court.

(l-r) Cara Hernandez and Frances Grail-Bingham

For the client and his U.S.-citizen wife, deportation would have meant severe illness and possibly even death. He is her sole caretaker, providing life-sustaining support, and, because of his own need for medical care, he would face almost certain death if removed to his country of origin.

Despite these factors, winning discretionary relief from deportation was difficult due to the client’s “aggravated felony” conviction. Grail-Bingham and Hernandez conducted extensive factual and legal investigations, secured and prepared field-leading expert witnesses and prepared an evidentiary submission that, at trial, their opposing counsel described as “the best … seen in 20 years of practice.” They used the full range of holistic lawyering skills to help their client and his wife meet their legal and non-legal needs, earn their client’s trust and prepare their client and his wife to testify—and be cross-examined—about the most difficult moments of their lives. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney acquiesced partway through, waiving appeal.