While I knew Arthur Helton well and served on the ABA Commission on Immigration with him, I am not sure I am deserving of the honor of memorializing this great man.
Arthur's legacy in the area of refugee and asylum law is legendary and arguably his contribution is unsurpassed in the history of US refugee law. He will be remembered by students and practitioners of immigration law for generations to come as one of the true greats who devoted his life to advancing human rights and helping refugees and immigrants.
I first got to know Arthur when I came to the US in 1979 and applied for political asylum based on my anti-apartheid activities. Despite his prominence and overloaded schedule, he not only found the time to counsel and guide me through my application, but he even took the time to reassure me and allay my fears and anxieties, serving as fatherly friend as well as legal counselor. He later assisted me when I took on asylum clients of my own, always finding the time to provide expert counsel.
If the ultimate measure of a human life is the positive impact one has had on one's fellow human beings, Arthur Helton will deservedly go down in history as one of the great human beings of the world. His passing is a tragic loss for all who knew him as well as for the many thousand more whose lives and opportunities were improved by his seminal contributions and dedication.
Bernard P. Wolfsdorf
Los Angeles, CA
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