Basics of Affirmative Asylum

(403 Ratings)

Produced on: July 11, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 63 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

 Asylum law practice is relevant to attorneys representing individuals fleeing persecution. This persecution might include a child from Central America fleeing gang violence, a woman from Kenya afraid of female genital mutilation being performed on her, or a man from Syria being tortured by a terrorist group.

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international definition of a “refugee.” This CLE is ideal for attorneys who are interested in representing asylum seekers in their law practice or attorneys who wish to offer pro bono services to asylum seekers through non-profit organizations. View this program to receive practical training for representing immigrant survivors seeking asylum protection via affirmative asylum.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Identify the nature of asylum law and when it may be utilized as an immigration relief

II.    Understand the different federal agencies involved with an affirmative asylum case

III.   Ascertain the fundamental elements of the asylum application and how to make your case stronger

IV.   Explore the ethical issues involved in representing asylum seekers


Teresa Messer

Law Office of Teresa Messer

Attorney Teresa Messer practices exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality law and has represented clients before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as before U.S. Consulates and Embassies, and the Immigration Court. Her immigration legal experience, commitment to her clients, and dedication to the legal profession has been recognized and awarded by the State Bar of Texas, AVVO, and Lead Counsel.

Attorney Messer’s own experience as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees cultivated her desire to assist other immigrants early on in her life. This desire ultimately led her to her calling – to help immigrants navigate through the complexities of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law.

While in law school, Teresa worked in Thailand for BPSOS Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia where she assisted refugees, survivors of torture, and victims of human trafficking in applying for refugee status, seeking appropriate legal remedies, and preparing for resettlement.  In addition, Ms. Messer represented individuals, families, and children in their applications for asylum and refugee protection, special immigrant juvenile status, and deferred action (DACA) when she was a Student Attorney in the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic. Because of her volunteer work assisting immigrants and refugees while she was still a law student, she received the Pro Bono Honors Program Certificate by South Texas College of Law.

As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, Ms. Messer established a student organization that provided services such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, GED preparation, college admissions assistance, and clothing donations for refugees living in Houston. Ms. Messer was later recognized by the Darfurian Association of Greater Houston for her volunteer contributions to the refugee community of Houston. 

Ms. Messer has guest lectured a family immigration course at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and supervised law students at the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic. She has also presented a CLE on US refugee law for the Houston Northwest Bar Association and has written several immigration legal articles which have appeared in publications such as Law360 Expert Analysis, the University of Houston’s Online Law Journal, and Houston Young Lawyers Association Pocket Parts.

In her free time, she enjoys volunteering her immigration legal services at non-profit organizations such as YMCA International Services, United We Dream, and Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Today, she serves as a board member of BPSOS (formerly Boat People SOS) of Houston and Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Teresa Messer received her Juris Doctor Degree from South Texas College of Law and is admitted to the State Bar of Texas.


Lourna M.

Great topic

Maria P.

Much appreciated.

Richard R.

Nice work. Thank you

sheila c.

Very organized, clear presentation that practical information and good examples. We can all get the law easily enough so the real life practical info is most important to me. ex. How long can a case take in X part of the process, areas of confusion, # of copies needed and why.

Paul R.

she was fine.

Edward D.

Excellent presentation and subject coverage

Joanna S.

Very efficient and substantive presentation

Colleen W.

The program was very informative and well presented.

Leslie G.

Very clear, organized and practical

Carol S.

Very practical and well presented

Angie M.

It was very informative and I am considering doing pro bono work in this area.

Darren M.

It enlightened me within the subject matter.

Walter T.



A very good primer on Affirmative Asylum for the general and immigration practitioner

Ligia H.

great program

Holly R.

Excellent introduction to affirmative asylum. Thank you!

Eric P.

Interesting presentation.

Mary H.

Well organized. Great presentation.

John C.

Good summary

Geoffrey K.

Ms. Messer was not just a good speaker and presenter, she was also exceedingly well-organized. and her materials were very helpful and included specific references to forms and further information. An excellent course.

Rhonda G. W.

Thank you for this superb presentation. The presenter was very knowledgeable, well-organized, and clear.

Frank K.

good presentation

John D.

The course presenter was very good in providing information in a way the was very understandable.

Frank T.

well prepared, to the point and excellently presented

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