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Cases and Projects* -- Academic Year 2008-2009

Clinic class, Spring 2009American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee:

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is nonpartisan and nonsectarian, is the largest membership organization in the United States dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Arab-Americans. ADC was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk to combat racism, discrimination, and stereotyping of Americans of Arab descent. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., and offices in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and California, ADC has 38 chapters and members across the nation. Through its Department of Legal Services, ADC offers counseling in cases of discrimination and defamation and selected impact litigation in the areas of immigration. ADC also coordinates its efforts closely with U.S., federal, state, and local government agencies in facilitating open lines of communication with the Arab-American community.

On behalf of ADC, students at the center prepared a white paper on the special registration program (“National Security Entry and Exit Registration System”). The white paper included a legal and policy analysis of the special registration program, including but not limited to, statutory and regulatory authorities, and implementation at ports of entries/exits and the interior. The white paper also included legal and policy recommendations for a new administration. Students created and analyzed profiles of individuals and families impacted by special registration. As needed, students prepared regulatory comments that impact the Arab-American community.

Detention Watch Network:

The Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for humane reform so that all who come to our shores receive fair and humane treatment.

On behalf of DWN, students at the center investigated and documented information on facilities holding immigration detainees for the state of Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The fruits of this investigation contributed to an interactive detention map created by DWN, which has already become a great resource for many people across the country, including families looking for loved ones, advocates, reporters (posted on NY Times website), and members of Congress.

National Immigration Project:

Established in 1980, the National Immigration Project (NLGNIP) is a national membership organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers working to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants in the United States. The National Immigration Project is especially committed to working on behalf of the most disenfranchised and vulnerable, including, but not limited to, battered women, people with HIV/AIDS, children, and noncitizen criminal defenders. The NLGNIP provides legal assistance and other technical support to immigrant communities, legal practitioners, and advocates who work to advance the rights of noncitizens. The organization seeks to promote justice and equality of treatment in all areas of immigration law, the criminal justice system, and social policies related to immigration.

On behalf of NLGNIP, students worked on a public education project relating to fair process and due process for immigrants. Students at the Center reviewed a report issued by the Department of Justice Inspector General regarding the politicized hiring of immigration judges, as well as related legal standards and analyses. As practicable, students interviewed, collected and analyzed information from attorneys about the quality of decisions made by such immigration judges. As practicable, students drafted a white paper that summarized the government report and related analyses and also incorporated information collected by attorneys.

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition:

The Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition is a diverse group that includes community groups, legal service providers, social service providers, mutual assistance associations, immigrant leaders, unions, faith communities, and concerned individuals. PICC's mission is to represent the needs of immigrants, migrants, refugees and other new Americans living in Pennsylvania to policy makers, public officials, and the general public, and to educate the public and develop support for fair policies that welcome and sustain immigrants.

On behalf of PICC, the Center organized and implemented a Citizenship Day in Carlisle, PA. The Citizenship Day provided free legal assistance to eligible legal permanent residents who wished to apply for U.S. citizenship. Students collaborated with legal service providers, immigration attorneys, and community groups to recruit volunteers and engage in outreach to the immigrant community. Prior to the event, students at the Center gained basic knowledge about naturalization and citizenship laws and screened potential applicants, using pre-existing intake forms/materials. Following the Citizenship Day, the Center created an evaluation report.

Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center:

Located less than a mile from York County Prison, the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) has become the leading source of legal services to immigrants detained by DHS in Pennsylvania. York County Prison houses 700 detainees on a daily basis. PIRC delivers legal orientation presentations to detainees primarily at York County Prison, provides individual legal consultations, self-help assistance and referrals, and offers direct pro bono representation to the most vulnerable immigrant detainees — including torture survivors and detainees with severe mental or physical disability. In providing legal and educational resources to detained populations, PIRC seeks to empower unrepresented immigrants to evaluate and manifest their defenses against deportation from the United States.

On behalf of PIRC, students at the center prepared a white paper on immigration detainees who suffer from a mental illness, with related recommendations. Students were required to consult with an array of stakeholders in preparing the white paper, which will be useful to government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, among others.

Students at the Center assisted with three detained clients of PIRC, all of whom were seeking relief from harm under the laws of asylum, withholding of removal and/or protection under the UN Convention Against Torture. In the first case, a student is assisted with legal research on the law in Russia and the former Soviet Union on the treatment of suspected Russian traitors and the use of torture by Russian authorities. For the remaining two cases, another student attempted to recruit a psychologist to evaluate both clients for potential mental health problems. The student also researched and drafted a legal memorandum regarding exceptions to the one-year bar to asylum. Additionally, the student helped to recruit an expert witness on the clients’ home country conditions, identifying international law regarding the individual’s claims for Convention against Torture (CAT), and evaluating factually similar foreign cases that adjudicate CAT claims.

* Note: Clients have given special permission for information contained in this document to be shared publicly.