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Asylum Office

Field Placement Supervisor

Merrilyn Onisko, Supervisory Asylum Officer

Field Placement Office

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 

Field Placement Website


Description of Field Work

In December 2015, the New Orleans Asylum sub-office opened to serve the interest of the government to address the need of people who seek protection because they have suffered persecution or fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.  Students would experience a gambit of issues and training. The office adjudicates cases in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee and operates within the jurisdiction of the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Circuit courts. Students should be willing to assist with many different aspects of the office. As the need arises, all personnel are dedicated to ensuring the office expands as the needs in the community require.   


Students would work along side a supervisory asylum officer in conducting interviews, gathering research for asylum cases and conducting legal research.  A strong preference to schedule some field hours on Mondays, as training for the entire office is scheduled on this day which would allow students exposure to dynamic training on relevant immigration issues. This placement is an incredible primer for a 3L clinical experience, especially in immigration.


Externship Requirements

Students must have a C average.  A security background check is necessary which may take up to a month. 


Course recommendations:

Students may want to "tether" a doctrinal upper level elective to this externship experience.  For a tethered experience, the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning recommends students enroll in any of following courses International Law, Refugee and Asylum, Immigration Seminar.


Application Process

Apply in early January through early April for a summer placement. The Office of Skills seeks to place all summer extern applications in by April 20th with finalized placements set by May 1st. Apply in early March through June for a Fall or Spring placement. All externship applications for Fall should be submitted by July 31st. Externship applications are processed on a first come first serve basis. 

Return to the full list of externship field placements