Final Research Project (Jane’s Asylum Case): List the Legal Issues
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Before You Begin
Effective legal research and writing must be focused. The IRAC process is a convenient way to create focus while doing research and drafting documents based upon research results. First, identify the issue; next, research to determine the applicable rule of law; then, analyze the facts of the case in light of the rule; finally, state your conclusion based upon the foregoing analysis. This process will help you with legal research and research-based document preparation throughout this course and thereafter.
Jane is a 14-year-old Canadian. She is not a dual citizen of any countries. She is not a United States Citizen. Her parents have been divorced for six years; since the divorce, she has lived with her father, John, in Quebec during the school term and with her mother, Anne, in New York during school breaks and holiday vacations. John is a high-level government minister whose department works toward the creation of an independent French Canadian State.
Under Canadian law, both Anne and John retained full custodial and parental rights following the divorce. Jane has historically had a good relationship with both of her parents; however, over the past two years she has become argumentative with and emotionally distant from both parents. Anne and John have always made important decisions regarding Jane together.
Six months ago, Jane was living in New York during a school break. Halfway through the break, Jane telephoned her father in Toronto, asking to be allowed to return to Quebec early because she and Anne were not getting along. Her father told her she was to try to get along with her mother and remain in New York until the end of her school break as usual.
Two days later, Jane left home in the early morning with friends for the day, her usual routine. At 6:00 that evening, Anne returned from work to find a message on her answering machine from Jane, saying that she was going to live with her 21-year-old uncle Billy in California. In the message, Jane said that she hated both of her parents and believed that neither of them cared about her at all. John received a similar message. Anne was killed in an automobile accident rushing to the airport to intercept Jane.
Jane refuses to return to Canada. Since Jane is a minor, her uncle Billy wants to file an asylum petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on her behalf. He has contacted your law firm, claiming that Jane is afraid to return to Canada because John has physically abused her and that she will be used as a propaganda tool for the separatist movement. Jane claims that other rebellious children and even adults who disagree with the goals of the government have been used for propaganda purposes.
Your managing attorney has asked you to research U.S. immigration law to determine what options exist. He specifically wants you to determine if Billy can file a petition for asylum on Jane’s behalf or whether Jane must file her own petition. He wants you to locate and brief any cases on point, and prepare a legal memo discussing any major issues. You are to focus solely on the filing of a petition for asylum. The Family Law section of the firm is researching all other issues.
For this Project, list the specific issue or issues you believe must be addressed. At this point, do not continue your research; just list the legal issues you believe your managing attorney has asked you to research. Then prepare a draft e-mail presenting the list that identifies the issue or issues.
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