Partnership with Library Creates New Resource for Students

The Immigration Clinic and Earl Gregg Swem Library have partnered to create a resource for William & Mary students working on asylum cases and related research. In collaboration with the William & Mary Law School Immigration Clinic, Swem Library has published a Library Research Guide to assist students conducting supporting research for asylum cases. The Research Guide connects students to databases available to all William & Mary students, as well as other online sources, so that they can support the Clinic’s clients who are seeking asylum in the United States. 

“The Asylum Research Guide is an incredible tool for our Clinic students, and, by extension, our clients,” said Nicole Alanko, the Immigration Clinic’s Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow. “Students will be more connected than ever to William & Mary’s resources to conduct necessary and complex research to further our clients’ cases. The Clinic is so appreciative of Liz Bellamy, Dr. Candice Benjes-Small, and the whole Swem team for their support and hard work on this project.” 

“I was excited when this project was brought to the Libraries’ research department because from watching and listening to the news from the last few years, I’m acutely aware of how important asylum work is for creating a more just world,” said Liz Bellamy, the research librarian who worked on the project. “There is so much information out there in the world, between the news, W&M Libraries’ 500+ databases, and the open web, that it can be incredibly overwhelming to just pick a place to start. I hope this guide makes that just a bit easier by providing both links to credible information resources and guidance for research best practices.” 

Although the guide was created for use by students in the Law School’s Immigration Clinic, it is available to all William & Mary students–law, graduate, and undergraduate–for use when conducting research. 

In order to win asylum in the United States, a person must demonstrate that they have suffered or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, national origin, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylum seekers must corroborate their claims, through direct evidence such as psychological evaluations, and through indirect, supporting evidence about life and conditions in their home country. Gathering this supporting evidence requires complex, fact-specific research about an applicant’s country on topics such as minority ethnic and religious groups, the treatment of people with disabilities in schools, and violence against women and children. Beyond news articles and reports from international organizations, this research requires sources from a variety of academic disciplines, including anthropology, criminology, sociology, political science, history, and public health. This guide connects students to the breadth of resources available through William & Mary. 

The Asylum Research Guide can be found on the William & Mary Libraries main website