Participatory Legal Defense of a Montagnard Jarai Family (2013-2014)


Team: Andrew J. Young, Jon Siu, H Wier Siu, Nsonwu, M., Busch, M., et al

Title: Participatory Legal Defense of a Montagnard Jarai Family (2013-2014)

Brief: Community and academic joint effort to ensure the rights of a family detained, separated and charged with numerous misdemeanor and criminal charges and facing severe consequences including long prison terms and deportation. Our team provided expertise about Montagnard cultural practices and created and conducted a court-approved curriculum to educate parents in US marriage law, customs and traditions. Our complaints about the failure of courts to provide competent interpreters led to an investigation of local court practice by the State’s Administration of Courts.

In collaboration with Montagnard refugee community members, we documented interpretation problems and reported them to the US DOJ and NC AOC . This resulted in a visit from officials and a 12-page action report by the AOC Office of Language Access Services (OLAS) to Guilford County courts which included insistence that top county court officials ensure that standard policies and practices were followed. Slide show link.

During this project we also found other system gaps and failures, such as the lack of culturally appropriate civics and household training for refugees, so we created a court-approved and supervised curriculum. (link).

We found that within the Montagnard community, recently reunified families often had little past experience compared to previous waves of arrivals that could better prepare them for life in Greensboro, North Carolina (link).

Community investment and desired outcomes:





  • Young, A. The Montagnard Measure. Fresh Eyes, Triad City Beat, July, 2014

  • Young, A. (Aug 2014). The Newest Frontier: Protecting Civil Rights and Building Strong Communities. Bonner Congress Conference. Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

  • Young, A. Siu., L., Siu, J., Siu, H W. (Oct 2014). Interpretation Problems and Refugee Civil Rights: Documenting Civil Rights Violations with the Montagnard Community. 4th Annual Association for Refugee Service Professionals National Conference, University of North Carolina Greensboro, NC