American Sociological Association

Sociology in Action: Michael L. Dougherty

Michael L Dougherty, Illinois State University, did pro-bono consulting for The Immigration Project in Bloomington/Normal and Champaign/Urbana, IL. ASA asked Dougherty about his work and this is what he had to say:

What is the mission of the Immigration Project? The Immigration Project is the principal provider of non-profit legal services for immigrants in Central and Southern Illinois. The organization is staffed by experienced immigration attorneys and excellent support professionals. The mission of the Immigration Project is to improve access to affordable, high-quality immigrant legal services in downstate Illinois.

Can you describe your involvement with the organization? I have done pro-bono consulting in which I investigated the veracity of tricky asylum claims, and I also have written expert affidavits and given expert testimony on behalf of asylum claimants.

What sociological knowledge and/or skills did you use? Ethnographic interviewing of asylum applicants and knowledge of local culture and language in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

How did you connect with the Immigration Project? I was sought out regarding my expertise in Guatemala.

How long were you involved? Three months.