Sabrineh Ardalan

Lecturer on Law

Assistant Director, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic

2016-2017

Biography

Ms. Ardalan is Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She previously served as the Equal Justice America fellow at The Opportunity Agenda and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She also clerked for the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie, Chief District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale College.

Areas of Interest

Sabrineh Ardalan, EU Border Externalization: Parallelisms with the U.S./Mexico Border Experience, in Europe's Crisis: What Future for Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy? (EU Immigr. Law Series, Brill, forthcoming 2017).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
European Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Book
Sabrineh Ardalan, Constructive or Counterproductive? Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Mental Health Professionals into Asylum Representation, 30 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 1 (2015).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Legal Profession
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
Human Rights Law
,
Legal Education
Type: Article
Abstract
Within the field of refugee law, collaboration between lawyers and mental health professionals is increasingly prevalent, particularly in the context of law school clinics and legal services organizations. This trend has the power to transform the experiences of asylum seekers and the professionals who represent them, both improving case outcomes and enhancing the advocacy skills of lawyers and law students. An interdisciplinary approach is also critical to empowering asylum seekers, many of whom have fled serious human rights abuses and are as much in need of medical and mental health care, food, shelter and other basic necessities, as legal representation. Yet, until recently, little attention has been paid to tensions that may arise given the differing mandates and ethical obligations of each set of professionals. This Article seeks to address and reconcile these tensions. The Article first identifies the impetus for, and the benefits of, increased interdisciplinary collaboration in asylum representation. It then highlights obstacles to collaboration, including conflicts between the ethical codes of conduct of lawyers and mental health clinicians. The Article concludes with an analysis of different models of interdisciplinary collaboration, highlighting recent legal and policy developments that support an integrated team approach to asylum representation.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Dynamics between Gangs and the Church: An Overlooked Dimension of Central American Asylum Claims, 16-07 Immigr. Briefings 1 (Thompson-Reuters, July 2016).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This Briefing addresses the ground of religion in asylum cases involving gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It first describes country condition evidence critical to a nuanced understanding of these claims. The Briefing then presents an overview of U.S. asylum law with a focus on religion-based claims and gang violence. Next, the Briefing provides examples of cases in which adjudicators have granted asylum to women and youths who suffered or feared persecution by gangs for reasons of religion, among other grounds. The Briefing concludes with practical guidance regarding how to develop and present asylum cases involving gangs, religion, and the church.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Expert as Aid and Impediment: Barriers to Asylum Representation, in Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness Expertise and Testimony 147 (Benjamin N. Lawrance & Gayla Ruffer eds., Cambridge Univ. Press 2015).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Book
Abstract
This chapter opens by explaining the importance of expert testimony in asylum representation given adjudicators’ increasing demands for corroboration in recent years. It then addresses the sometimes-conflicting perspectives of experts and attorneys, and the need for increased transparency and communication among experts and attorneys about their roles and responsibilities. It concludes by arguing that explicit protocols must be adopted in order to improve collaboration between experts and attorneys in the asylum process and to mediate the divide between objectivity and advocacy that is often at issue in these cases.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Access to Justice for Asylum Seekers: Developing an Effective Model of Holistic Representation, 48 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 1001 (2015).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This Article argues that collaboration among lawyers, psychological and medical professionals, and human rights experts is paramount to ensuring the high-quality representation that asylum seekers need. As policymakers around the country consider different models for expanding immigration representation, it is vital that representation be defined broadly to include the range of experts integral to an asylum seeker’s case. Multidisciplinary representation is a functional requirement to ensure that asylum claims are fully developed and articulated to adjudicators. The article first explores the legal and financial barriers to accessing counsel. It then addresses the challenges that asylum seekers face when forced to present their cases without access to holistic representation. Next, it discusses barriers to inter-professional collaboration in asylum representation. It concludes by recommending a model of holistic representation for asylum seekers.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Refugee Protection for Homeschoolers? Congressional Efforts to Amend the Refugee Definition and Restrict Protection for Central American Refugees (RefLAW.org, June 2015).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Family Law
Sub-Categories:
Children's Law & Welfare
,
Education Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Other
Abstract
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee recently passed H.R.1153, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2015 (“the ARBP Act”), a bill that restricts immigration to the United States, except for families fleeing persecution because they homeschool their children. For those families, the bill allocates 500 grants of asylum per fiscal year. In contrast, for women and children fleeing persecution from gangs in Central America, the bill prohibits any federal funding for legal representation, imposes a heightened burden of proof, and creates unnecessary procedural hurdles, such as forcing certain asylum applicants to travel to Mexico or another “Safe Third Country” to apply for asylum. - See more at: http://www.reflaw.org/refugee-protection-for-homeschoolers-congressional-efforts-to-amend-the-refugee-definition-and-restrict-protection-for-central-american-refugees/#sthash.V6cmXLVg.dpuf
Sabrineh Ardalan & Palmer Lawrence, The Importance of Nonphysical Harm: Psychological Harm and Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in U.S. Asylum Law, 14-09 Immigr. Briefings 1 (Thompson Reuters, Sept. 2014).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This article highlights the importance of considering non-physical harm in developing and presenting asylum cases, drawing on recent examples from federal court cases, decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service training materials, among others. The article first provides an overview of the meaning of persecution under U.S. asylum law and international refugee law. Next, the article addresses evolving interpretations of psychological and emotional harm and violations of economic, social, and cultural rights in U.S. law. The article then concludes with practical guidance on how to develop and present asylum claims involving nonphysical harm.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Country Condition Evidence, Human Rights Experts, and Asylum-Seekers: Educating U.S. Adjudicators on Country Conditions in Asylum Cases, 13-09 Immigr. Briefings 1 (Thompson Reuters, Sept. 2013).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Human Rights Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This Briefing explores the evolving evidentiary issues in U.S. asylum law and the impact of recent legal developments, focusing on the role of expert evidence. The Briefing then addresses the historic context for the use of country condition evidence and, particularly, expert testimony in asylum cases. The third part of this Briefing highlights the importance of country condition evidence and expert testimony. Finally, the Briefing concludes with a brief discussion of some of the challenges that attorneys may face in working with country experts in asylum cases.
Sabrineh Ardalan, Conference Report, Workshop on the Justiciability of Socio-Economic Rights (Northeastern Law Sch. Program on Human Rights & the Global Economy, Mar. 19-21, 2009).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Human Rights Law
Type: Other
Alan Jenkins & Sabrineh Ardalan, Positive Health: The Human Right to Health Care Under the New York State Constitution, 35 Fordham Urban L.J. 479 (2008).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Health Care
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
State & Local Government
,
Health Law & Policy
Type: Article
Abstract
This article argues that the New York State Constitution creates a legal right to equal access to quality health care for all New Yorkers, drawing on both the historical context and the legislative history of the State Constitution to support this interpretation. Next, the article outlines the dimensions of the right to health care required under the text and history of the State Constitution, as informed by parallel provisions of international and federal law, as well as social science research. The article then provides an overview of additional laws that guarantee equal access to quality health care, focusing on racial, linguistic, socioeconomic, and geographic equity. The article concludes that New York State has failed to live up to its obligations to protect and promote New Yorkers’ health and suggests a series of remedies that can help ensure that the State fulfills its obligations.
Paul R. Williams & Sabrineh Ardalan, The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement: Evolving the Principle of Self-Determination,12 Leiden J. Int'l L. 155 (1999).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Human Rights Law
Type: Article
Abstract
Central to this article is the evolution of the nature of the principle of self-determination. The main focus will be on the examination of a recent instance of state practice — the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. In particular, the way in which the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement has given effect to the primary elements of self-determination, including democratic self-government, the protection of human rights, and the protection of minority rights will be discussed.

Bar Admissions

Clerkships

Education History

Honors and Awards

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Additional Information

She teaches the spring Immigration and Refugee Advocacy seminar at Harvard Law School and supervises law students engaged in direct representation of individual applicants for asylum and other forms of protection from human rights abuses, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy.  She also collaborates closely with and supervises the Clinic's social worker and a social work intern based at the Clinic.  In the fall, she teaches a seminar entitled, Trauma, Refugees, and Asylum Law.  Over winter term, she supervises independent clinical placements in the U.S. and internationally.