Dual J.D. student eyes immigration law career


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Coming from a family of immigrants, law student Yasmine Haidar is passionate about helping others who come to this country.

Her first step on her career path was an undergraduate degree in political science from Adrian College.

“I was interested in how morality and justice played into not only the American system of government, but systems of government around the world,” she said. “My family fled war and poverty in their home countries and came to the USA to find new and familiar problems, so the frustration of feeling powerless to change an unjust world is very personal to me.”

Haidar said she uses the skills from her degree “to identify injustices that persist in our world, spread awareness about them, and find potential solutions.

“I believe immigrants make America great,” she added. “The way we treat immigrants legally, socially, and politically is, in my opinion, despicable. I also believe we need to re-examine our military ventures abroad and how they have created instability and suffering in many parts of the world.”

A Transnational Law Fellow in her 1L year of the Dual J.D. program with the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and University of Windsor Law Faculty, Haidar enjoys comparative law.

“I felt learning about another system of law helps me become a better lawyer even if I don’t decide to do cross-border work, because I get a fresh perspective on why the American legal system is structured the way it is compared to the Canadian legal system,” she said. “I can use that perspective to figure out — in my view — what we’ve gotten right and what we’ve gotten wrong in our system.”

The law, she noted, is a means to pursue justice, but also a means to codify and reinforce injustices.

“I’ve always admired the work that organizations like the ACLU and If/When/How do to raise awareness about important issues, and awareness campaigns are crucial to educate the public about problems in the legal system and the political system,” Haidar said. “But I believe the heart of their work is in the courts — that’s where things get done and that’s where I want to be.”

Haidar — who would like to pursue a career as an immigration lawyer, but would also relish any legal position that furthers social justice — is enjoying her studies at Detroit Mercy Law.

“The faculty is great — they made me very excited about coming to law school and are so passionate about their work,” she said. “My professors are very knowledgeable and accessible.

“There are also extensive opportunities to network and to gain experience through internships and clinics. I feel I’ll be very prepared for a legal career when I graduate.”

A Dearborn native, Haidar moved to Dearborn Heights in elementary school and still makes her home there, with her parents and maternal grandmother.

She has a sister in Florida and a half-brother in Livonia, and a large extended family.

Passionate about music, she has played the bass clarinet for over a decade. Other interests include video games (especially Nintendo), and board games; travelling to different countries, trying new foods, going on long walks, and making new friends.

Haidar did a lot of philanthropy work for her undergraduate sorority, Chi Omega, and for other groups — planting trees around campus, fundraising for Make-a-Wish through benefit dinners, and volunteering and fundraising for the local domestic violence shelter.

“I also held a lot of events through the International Awareness Club at my undergrad to raise awareness about issues such as the crisis in Syria and the rise of hate crimes in the U.S.,” she said.

Haidar enjoys living and studying in the Motor City area.

“I love the people of Detroit —through everything, they’ve been resilient and they always work toward a better future,” she said. “There’s so much culture in Detroit and I’m so excited to learn more about it.”


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