Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Love Letter to My Clients and Hamilton by Elizabeth Keyes

UB Law immprof Elizabeth Keyes has penned the following:

Barack, Lin-Manuel, Juan. Seeds in the garden planted so long ago by another man who was young, scrappy and hungry and who then accomplished extraordinary things. The first two you know, and there they were free-styling at the White House last month. One, the child of a Kenyan immigrant and an American who became President. The other, the child of Puerto Rican parents who is, so far, a Tony, Grammy and Macarthur genius award winner. But who is Juan, and can’t we get back to Hamilton? (Please?)

Juan is my client. An undocumented immigrant. And Hamilton is his story. Yes, the musical tells a specific story, about a specific man in a different era. But it is a quintessential story of immigration, hunger, and accomplishment, and that story is Juan’s, too. Almost precisely, but for one important difference. I’ll get to that in a moment. (Wait for it.)

With Hamilton, we all fall in love with the characters and the performers and the music in equal measure. But as an immigration lawyer, I also very powerfully felt my heart soar with gratitude and recognition about something much more specific: Here was the story of an immigrant disdained as a “Creole bastard,” being told with unabashed glory and pride. The love and respect that the Hamilton cast show in their narrative is akin to the love and respect that I feel for Juan and so many of my clients who so seldom feel the love and respect from anyone.

From the first song, asking us to spot Hamilton, “another immigrant comin’ up from the bottom” to the show-stopping moment at the Battle of Yorktown where he and Lafayette reconnect and—with deserved pride—nod their heads and say “immigrants…we get the job done,” Hamilton is an immigrant story, featuring the ambitious young person with little more than a “top-notch brain,” who makes his way here and thrives in a land full of opportunity for anyone bold enough to seize it.

Hamilton’s story is helped by the laws of his day. When he arrived in the United States in 1772 or 1773, there was no immigration law that prevented him from coming. He was a British subject, who could travel freely among all parts of the world that Britain controlled—and much beyond it as well, if he wished. When he and Lafayette came, there was no such thing as being “undocumented” or immigrating illegally because there were no such laws to break and no visas to acquire. States had some rules about who could arrive, and sometimes charged fees on arriving passengers, but that was about it until the late 19th century, when we started excluding Asians, then poor people, then LGBT people, and so on and so on.

In his more open era, Hamilton could and did lay immediate claim to his country, shifting from loyal, royal subject to American as easily as he breathed. Ron Chernow, in the biography that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to ultimately create Hamilton, writes:

Few immigrants have renounced their past more unequivocally or adopted their new country more wholeheartedly. ‘I am neither merchant nor farmer,’ he now wrote, just a year and a half after leaving St. Croix. ‘I address you because I wish well to my country.’

“My” country. Hamilton claimed America as his, in 1774. As he could. As he was legally able to do.

By 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s chief aide-de-camp, and Chernow evokes the power of his transformation of identity:

Once again, the young immigrant had been transported to another sphere…The high-level service completed Hamilton’s rapid metamorphosis into a full-blooded American. The Continental Army was a national institution and helped make Hamilton the optimal person to articulate a vision of American nationalism, his vision sharpened by the immigrant’s special love for his new country.

How does someone metamorphose into a full-blooded American today? Not through valiant service, although for some, that remains a possibility—Margaret Stock, another Macarthur genius award recipient and a senatorial candidate from Alaska, made that connection to the Pentagon when she rapidly pushed through the idea that some immigrants with legal status could acquire citizenship rapidly in exchange for providing valuable military service to the nation. Hamilton’s heirs, certainly.

But for most, there is no metamorphosis available, and that is where Juan’s story differs from Hamilton’s. But what a story his is. Juan came to the U.S. from a place where he just could not get the education he wanted. He had finished high school, and came here in his late teens, intent on getting further. Literally the day after he arrived, he started loading and unloading trucks at a nearby hardware store, earning the precious dollars he needed to go to school. He hasn’t stopped working since, but he also managed to go to community college, and then transfer to a four-year university. No big deal, but he graduated from that university summa cum laude. While studying in a second language. While working full-time. Young, scrappy, hungry…you see it, right? (I’ve written about him before, so see here if you want to read more.)

Being a non-stop person himself, Juan applied to graduate school, and he now goes to a prestigious one on the scholarship he earned from being so danged studious. Like Hamilton, there are a million things he hasn’t done, but just you wait. I expect him to reinvent the world one day, and when he does, I will be so proud to have known him.

But unlike A.Ham claiming citizenship in his new country, Juan cannot. Paths to legal status in the United States are achingly narrow for all, and treacherously easy to fall off. Nowhere is this more true than for people of color living in communities that are over-policed, for immigrants with limited English skills who accept guilty pleas for crimes they may not have committed, without fully understanding the consequences of those pleas. I could go on. But let it suffice to say that there is a deep, sometimes painful, beauty in the immigrant story being told as passionately and evocatively as it is by the richly diverse case of Hamilton, when our enforcement policies today target so many people who look like that cast.

Juan, like many thousands of young people, is too busy studying to get into trouble—until the day he forgets to replace a headlight on their car, gets pulled over by the police in an immigrant-unfriendly town or county, run through an immigration database that may reveal his lack of status, and placed in removal proceedings. If that happens to Juan, I will be there with him, fighting for him. Most immigrants in removal proceedings are not fortunate enough to have a lawyer. They leave, and with their departures we lose people who could have contributed vibrantly to our nation.

Imagine America if Hamilton had been deported for lacking papers. We make all manner of things deportable offenses these days, and it doesn’t matter if everything is “legal in Jersey” if the federal government says, say, dueling is a deportable offense. We would have lost a man who, by the time of his engagement to Eliza Schuyler in 1780, even his future father-in-law recognized as American. Philip Schuyler told Eliza that Hamilton was “the ornament of his country.”

His country. America. A place where even an orphaned immigrant can make a difference. How do we treat these immigrants today? With contempt (sometimes literally). With jail. With life in the shadows. With hope after hope of political accommodation dashed by a Congress which responds to the worst voices of fear, and not the call of Hamilton’s own legacy.

Juan, too, is an ornament of his country, as are the DREAMers who are reinventing our idea of citizenship by claiming their American-ness so forcefully. In this, and in their project of redefining who America is, and who Americans are, they are Hamilton’s heirs. They are the seeds he planted in a garden 250 years ago when he walked off that boat in New York.

As depicted by the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton kept searching for ways to do more for the country he loved, and to take advantage of every opportunity this country gave him. Thankfully, people like George Washington judged him for his talent, and not for his place of birth. Might we do the same for young, scrappy, and hungry Juan, and so many like him. If we could see them as Hamilton’s heirs, that would be enough. And if we could reform our laws to let them be the Americans in law that they already are in their hearts, that would be enough. It’s only a matter of time.

April 7, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics, Law Review Articles & Essays, Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mexico: Asylum Elusive for Migrant Children -- Major Obstacles for Central American Asylum Seekers

 

Central American children fleeing serious threats face formidable obstacles in applying for asylum in Mexico, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.


The 151-page report, “Closed Doors: Mexico’s Failure to Protect Central American Refugee and Migrant Children,” documents wide discrepancies between Mexican law and practice. By law, Mexico offers protection to those who face risks to their lives or safety if returned to their countries of origin. But less than 1 percent of children who are apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities are recognized as refugees, according to Mexican government data.

“On paper, Mexican law appears to provide every protection for children who have fled their home countries in fear of their lives,” said Michael Bochenek, senior children’s rights counsel at Human Rights Watch. “But only a handful actually receive asylum, reflecting that even though Central American children and adults face serious threats, the government is not giving adequate consideration to their claims.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed 61 children and more than 100 adults who had traveled to Mexico from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Human Rights Watch also interviewed Mexican government officials; representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency; and representatives of nongovernmental organizations; and reviewed case files and data collected by Mexico’s immigration and refugee protection agencies.
These findings come at a time when the number of undocumented children apprehended by Mexican authorities has been sharply increasing. Mexican immigration authorities apprehended more than 35,000 children in 2015, nearly 55 percent more than in 2014, and 270 percent more than in 2013.

These increases are in part a reflection of surging United States government financial support for immigration enforcement by Mexico starting in mid-2014, when record numbers of Central Americans, including unaccompanied children and families with children, began to arrive in the US.

Gang violence has plagued Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for more than a decade, and gangs in these three countries often target children.

Many of the children Human Rights Watch interviewed said that they were pressured to join gangs, often under threat of harm or death to themselves or to family members. Girls face particular risk of sexual violence and assault by gang members. Other children gave accounts of being held for ransom or targeted for extortion.

Gabriel R., a 15-year-old from the Honduran department of Cortés, told Human Rights Watch: “I was in school, in the ninth grade. One day the gang came up to me near the school where I was studying. They told me that I needed to join the gang. They gave me three days. If I didn’t join them, they’d kill me.” He left for Mexico on his own in May 2015, before the three days were up.

But when the children flee to Mexico, immigration agents frequently do not inform them of their right to seek asylum or screen them to determine whether they may have viable refugee claims, Human Rights Watch found.
Children who apply for asylum are not guaranteed legal or other assistance unless they are fortunate enough to be represented by one of the handful of nongovernmental organizations that provide legal assistance to asylum seekers. Asylum processes are not designed with children in mind and are frequently confusing to them.

Children who wish to apply for asylum also face the threat of prolonged detention. Several children told Human Rights Watch that immigration agents warned them that merely applying for asylum would result in protracted detention. Human Rights Watch also spoke with several children and parents who decided not to apply or who withdrew applications, accepting returns to their home countries despite the risks because they did not want to remain locked up.

Mexican law provides that unaccompanied children should be transferred to the custody of Mexico’s child protection system and should be detained only in exceptional circumstances. Nevertheless, detention of migrant children is the rule.
Even children lucky enough to land in shelters run by the country’s child protection agency experience a form of detention. They do not attend local schools and have few contacts with the community. Unless they need specialized medical care, they remain within the four walls of the shelter for the duration of their stay.

Under international standards, children should not be detained as a means of immigration control; instead, countries should “expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status,” as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated. Mexico has an obligation to provide these children with appropriate care and protection in suitable settings.

Mexico has a right to control its borders, but migrant children should not be held in detention. Mexico can provide appropriate care and protection to unaccompanied and separated children in a variety of ways, whether by housing children with families or in state or privately run facilities. While some may need to be housed in closed facilities, locking children up in prison-like settings does not meet international standards, Human Rights Watch said.

Mexico should ensure that children have effective access to refugee recognition procedures, including appropriate legal and other assistance. The government should also expand the capacity of its refugee agency, including by establishing a presence across Mexico’s southern border.

The US government, which has pressured Mexico to interdict Central Americans, should provide additional funding and support to improve and expand Mexico’s capacity to process asylum claims and to provide social support for asylum seekers and refugees. The US government should link funding of Mexican entities engaged in immigration and border control to their demonstrated compliance with national and international human rights standards.

The US government should also expand its Central American Minors Program to allow children to apply from Mexico and other countries where they have sought safety, and to allow applications based on a relationship to extended family members, not only parents, in the US.

“Putting children in a position in which they think they have to choose between months in detention or being returned to danger violates common decency as well as Mexican and international law,” Bochenek said. “Both Mexico and the US should work to provide appropriate care and a reasonable opportunity to apply for protection for children fleeing danger in Central America.”

KJ

March 31, 2016 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Problem of Rare Dialects

The Tennessean has a must-read story about Sawng Hing, a Burmese refugee accused of child abuse.

Hing speaks Matu-Chin, a language spoken by just 40,000 people in the entire world. When Hing was prosecuted criminally, the court relied on translations by her pastor, who himself did not speak Matu-Chin. The article provides multiple examples of the mis-translations that ensued.

Hing was ultimately convicted. And the government sought to deport her on that basis.

Now Hing is appealing both the criminal conviction and the resulting deportation on the basis of the faulty translation.

-KitJ

January 6, 2016 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 28, 2015

#DispatchesFromDilley

This summer, immprof Ingrid Eagly traveled to Dilley with three UCLA law students as part of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project. You can read about their adventures at #DispatchesFromDilley.

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Excellent work, all!

-KitJ

August 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Texas A & M School of Law Seeking Applicants for Immigration Clinic and Other Faculty Positions

Index

Texas A & M School of Law is seeking applicants for a number of faculty positions and is specifically soliciting applicants interested in developing an immigration clinic.  For details, see  Download Texas a&m

KJ

July 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Albany Law School Immigration Law Clinic Fellow

Albany Law School’s Law Clinic & Justice Center seeks a Fellow to provide legal advocacy services and direct representation to clients in its new Immigration Law Clinic and to perform other related duties pursuant to grants and contracts. The Immigration Law Clinic teaches law students practical lawyering skills in the context of Family Court and immigration proceedings at which students represent individuals who are seeking to regularize their immigration status. Additionally, the Fellow will assist the Director with research and analysis on long-term projects. At the Director’s discretion, the Fellow may have limited opportunities for participating in trainings, supervising in-class activities, assisting in program design and leading case rounds. This position begins July 1, 2015 and lasts for one year.

Qualified candidates will possess a JD degree and admission to the New York State bar. Practical legal experience in immigration and family law is preferred. Spanish language skills are desirable, but not required.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter, by June 12, 2015, to:

Albany Law School Director of Human Resources 80 New Scotland Avenue Albany, NY 12208-3494 Fax: (518) 445-3262 E-mail: humanresources@albanylaw.edu

KJ

May 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Congratulations to TU's Immigrant Rights Project

 

Congratulations to immprof Betsy McCormick and her students in the University of Tulsa College of Law's Immigrant Rights Project!

Anna Carpenter at TU has tipped us off about some wonderful successes. She writes:

During spring break of this year, Betsy, nine of her students, one undergraduate psychology major, two law school staff, and two dedicated volunteers traveled to Texas to participate in a pro bono project providing representation to immigrant women and children held at Karnes County Residential Center, a privately run immigrant detention facility located 60 miles southeast of San Antonio. 

Originally intended to house men only, the 532-bed (and expanding) facility opened its door to women, children, and families in August 2014, partly in response to last summer's dramatic influx of South American refugees at the Texas border.  In the weeks leading up to the trip and during their week in Texas, Betsy, her students, the staff, and the volunteers worked with more than 60 detained families conducting intake interviews, preparing detained asylum seekers for credible fear interviews and asylum hearings, and preparing bond reduction motions.  Students Tyler Vermillion, Carlie Ruhlman, Zack Brandwein and Marlina Rogers also successfully represented clients in three bond hearings in San Antonio Immigration Court.   

Students Zack and Marlina, in what appears to have been an unprecedented result for Karnes families, obtained release for their client and her son without paying any bond.  Since returning from Karnes, students have continued their work with their detained clients with the result that every client that clinic students represented at Karnes – including 5 mothers and 9 young children – has now been released from custody. 

Terrific news!

TU currently has the only law school clinic in the state of Oklahoma focused on immigration, and they are doing amazing and much-needed work.

-KitJ

April 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Brushing up your Spanish the Michel Thomas Way


Photo by Jim Block

Michel Thomas was an extraordinary man. Born in Poland in 1914, Thomas left the country as a young man, studying in Germany and France in an effort to escape antisemitism. During WW2, he served in the French Resistance and ended up spending two years in French concentration camps. After the war, Thomas moved to the United States where he spent a lifetime teaching Hollywood stars to master foreign languages.

While Thomas passed away in 2005, his method for language learning lives on in audiotapes.

I was introduced to the Michel Thomas method by my colleague Lindsay Robertson. Lindsay knew that I was trying to brush up on my Spanish before heading to the immigration detention facility in Artesia, NM. In a past life, my Spanish was excellent. I studied through college - taking advanced literature courses and studying abroad. But it had been over a decade since I tried to use my skills.

I did many things to bring my Spanish back up to speed - and will post about them all, eventually. But without a doubt the most surprisingly effective tool was the Total Spanish series by Michel Thomas. 

The Thomas CDs are different from anything I've ever listened to before. You listen as he teaches two students how to speak Spanish. In effect, you are the third student in the room. It's extra fun because one of the students isn't very good and so you won't feel like the dunce in the room as you practice.

Thomas emphasizes practical communication skills - pointing out the thousands of words that are largely the same in English and Spanish. As a result, you end up with a much more sophisticated vocabulary that you would if you tried to learn words one at a time.

These langauge CDs are a truly effective tool, whether you are looking to learn Spanish for the first time or looking to brush up on skills you already have. I'd actually recommend that clinics around the country invest in a copy for their students to borrow. (OU has a set available for students in our International Human Rights Clinic.)

Finally, I should also note that Michel Thomas was a polyglot. His language CDs are not just available in Spanish but a multitude of other languages. 

-KitJ

January 6, 2015 in Books, Immigration Law Clinics, Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Be a Golden Gopher: The University of Minnesota Seeks an Immigration Fellow

It hardly seems fair for me to wax poetic about the immigration clinician job at UT without noting another wonderful clinic position at the University of Minnesota.

Here are the details:

The University of Minnesota Law School is seeking applicants for a clinical teaching fellowship beginning in the fall of 2015 with the Center for New Americans. The Center for New Americans is a comprehensive immigration law center composed of the three interrelated clinics: The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, The Detainee Rights Clinic, and the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic, as well as an education and outreach program. The Fellow will supervise students in representing clients and in advocacy projects, teach clinic seminar classes, and participate in the general development and functioning of the Center. For a detailed description and instructions on how to apply, go to employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=125032. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity employer.

You, too, can join the wonderful immprofs Linus Chan, Stephen Meili, and Benjamin Casper. Go be a golden gopher in the Twin Cities.

-KitJ

December 3, 2014 in Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The University of Texas Seeks An Immigration Clinician

Let me share a secret with you. I work at the University of Oklahoma but I have a secret affinity for the University of Texas, a bitter collegiate rival. My husband attended UT and we spent many of our early winters together rooting for UT at bowl games in So Cal. When we moved to Norman for my job, however, the bitterness of the OU-UT rivalry led to a complete purging of tee-shirts, hats, and car decals. We figured it would be hard enough for our kids to adjust to a new town without the added burden of supporting the Longhorns. Nonetheless, in our secret hearts, we continue to hold out hope that one day our boys might someday be a part of Plan II at UT.

So, it's a particular joy to share with you the news that UT is looking for an immigration clinician!

Here are the details as posted to FB by my former colleague Elizabeth Bangs:

The School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin has an opening for a clinical professor in the Immigration Clinic. The successful candidate will start in August 2015 and will join a community of over 25 faculty members who teach in the clinical program.

The opening is for a full-time, nine-month appointment. It is a non-tenure track position, with an initial one-year contract and thereafter a three-year, rolling, presumptively renewable contract.

The Immigration Clinic has been part of the Clinical Program at UT Law for sixteen years. The successful candidate will join the Immigration Clinic director, Clinical Professor Denise Gilman, in teaching and supervising Immigration Clinic students. The clinic’s faculty teaches substantive immigration law and provides instruction and guidance in legal advocacy techniques, while encouraging students to explore models for effective, ethical and collaborative lawyering. The clinical faculty provides mentorship and supervision for students but ensures that students take on the primary responsibility and decision-making authority for their cases. Approximately 16 students enroll in the clinic each semester, as new or advanced clinic students.

The Immigration Clinic represents vulnerable low-income immigrants from all over the world before the immigration and federal courts and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The clinic’s caseload varies each semester but is primarily focused on detention and deportation defense and asylum cases. In addition to handling a specific caseload, students in the clinic provide pro-se assistance and direct legal representation to migrants held at immigration detention centers, particularly asylum seekers held at the Hutto and Karnes detention facilities. Clinical faculty and students also engage in larger national and international human rights advocacy projects and collaborate with national organizations to reform and improve the rights of immigrants in the United States.

More information about the Immigration Clinic can be found here:
http://www.utexas.edu/law/clinics/immigration/

Responsibilities include:
- Co-teaching (with existing faculty) the classroom component of the clinic;
- Supervising students in their work on cases and other projects;
- Participating in the management of the clinic, including selection of students and budget decision-making;
- Selecting cases and projects for the clinic;
- Directly representing clients in proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration court system and the federal courts;
- Engaging in service to the law school, the university, and the community, which may include serving on law school and university committees, participating in scholarly presentations or CLE programs, aiding law-reform efforts, serving as an expert for news media and other audiences as well as other activities.

Qualifications:
- Member of any State Bar;
- At least five years of experience in immigration law and practice;
- Fluency in Spanish;
- A demonstrated interest in direct representation of migrants as well as systemic reform;
- Experience supervising law students and/or junior attorneys; and
- Teaching experience preferred.

Salary: In the $98,000 to $110,000 range for nine months, depending on experience.

Applications should be submitted by email, by December 22, 2014, to:
Denise Gilman
Immigration Clinic
University of Texas
School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 232-1292
dgilman@law.utexas.edu
Please include a letter of interest, a resume or c.v., a writing sample, and the names of three references.

So there you have it - a great opportunity awaits you at an incredible school. Go join the good fight with the incomparable immprofs Barbara Hines and Denise Gilman! Hook 'em!

-KitJ

December 2, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Looking to break into clinical law teaching?

The University of Minnesota is accepting applications for a 2-year teaching fellowship with its Center for New Americans. The center emcompasses three interrelated clinics: The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, The Detainee Rights Clinic, and the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic.

It's a great opportunity for someone looking to break into clinical law teaching.

-KitJ

October 28, 2014 in Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Immigrant Justice Clinic in Artesia

This past week, Professor Jayesh Rathod, Director of American University WCL's Immigrant Justice Clinic, traveled to Artesia, NM with eight of his clinic students. They spent the week working with women and children detained in New Mexico.

The clinic students made videos about their experiences. I think these two are particularly compelling and would make great additions to the classroom.

In the first video, a student talks about the sick children at Artesia.

In this second video, three students discuss the difficulties facing indigenous clients at Artesia, including translation issues.

Kudos for accomplishing what was clearly a terrific clinic experience!

-KitJ

October 26, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Profile of Professor Deborah Anker

  Debbie anker

Harvard Magazine has a nice profile on immigration and refugee law professor Deborah Anker.  When Anker joined the Law School faculty in the mid 1980s, immigration law was not on the curriculum.  (I graduated from HLS in 1983 and can vouch for that.).  In addition to teaching the first full immigration-law course offered at the law school, Anker in 1984 co-founded the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a direct services clinic that engages students in representating asylum applicants.

KJ

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 Rebellious Lawyering Conference San Francisco, California

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Women allege sexual abuse at Texas immigrant detention center

CNN reports that women detained at an immigration detention facility in Texas allege that employees there have sexually abused them, including by removing them from their cells at night for sex as well as fondling them in front of others, lawyers wrote in a letter to federal officials this week.

The allegations were detailed in a letter from several immigrant advocacy groups to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, which had hired one of America's for-private prison operators to run the facility. Zoe Carpenter in the Nation has an insightful story on the private detention companies and how they benefit for increases in immigrant detention.

"We call for an immediate investigation into these serious allegations of sexual abuse and the immediate protection of all women and children forced to reside in the facility," the letter, sent by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of all the advocacy groups, reads.  ImmigrationProf reported on this letter earlier this week.

In a September 25 letter, the immigration clinic at the University of Texas School of Law asked federal immigration officials to investigate numerous complaints from detainees, including that children didn't have access to a variety of nutritious snacks between meals, that messages from attorneys weren't getting to their clients in a timely manner, and that -- although they had access to a nurse -- no doctor was on staff to handle significant medical issues such as respiratory infections and chronic illnesses.

KJ

October 5, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

EOIR Proposes Changes to "List of Free Legal Services Providers"

The EOIR has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking to amend 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003, 1240, and 1241.

One change is literally in name only. The EOIR wants to rename what is currently the "List of Free Legal Services Provides," re-titling it be the "List of Pro Bono Legal Services Providers." The change, they say,

reflects the relevant statutory language (see INA 208(d)(4)(B), 239(a)(1)(E), 239(b)(2)), describes more accurately the nature of the services provided, and will improve the integrity of the List. Further, removing the word “free” will clarify that entities and private attorneys on the List are not necessarily available to work free of charge for every alien regardless of the alien's financial means or the type of legal work involved. Rather, use of the term “pro bono” indicates that such services are for the public good, e.g., to help ensure qualified representation for those indigent aliens who do not have sufficient means to hire a private attorney.

The EOIR would also like to "enhance the eligibility requirements for organizations, private attorneys, and referral services to be included on the List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers." Specifically they propose:

  • professional conduct standards
  • ability to provide pro bono legal services in association with organizations and referral services
  • minimum requirement of 50 pro bono hours per year
  • continuing certification
  • public participation

The impetus for these changes comes from

complaints from numerous government sources and the public that certain private attorneys may be using the List to advertise or solicit for paying clients, and do not provide legal representation to a significant number of aliens on a pro bono basis or for any particular amount of time

E-comments regarding this proposal are due by November 17, 2014.

-KitJ

September 17, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 4, 2014

U.C. Hastings Refugee and Human Rights Clinical Teaching Fellowship

The Refugee and Human Rights Clinic (RHRC), in collaboration with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), at U.C. Hastings is seeking applications for a two-year teaching fellowship (July 2015 - June 2017). The fellowship provides the opportunity to learn how to teach law in a clinical setting. The fellow will work under the supervision of the RHRC Director, Karen Musalo, and will share in the full-range of responsibilities of teaching the RHRC, including co-teaching the clinic seminar, and supervising the clinic students’ work.

Requirements for candidates:

Experience in asylum and immigration law (experience in human rights law is a plus, but not required)

Excellent academic record

Two to five years minimum practice experience, including some direct representation

Admission to a State bar

Excellent analytical and writing skills

Aptitude for student supervision

Prior teaching experience is a plus; and

Bilingual ability in Spanish is desirable

Salary and benefits: The Fellow will receive a salary of $52,000 per year, with full benefits, which includes health, dental and vision care insurance plans.

To apply: Send a resume, law school transcript, writing sample, and a statement of interest. The statement should address: 1) why you are interested in this fellowship; 2) how your experiences make you particularly suitable to contribute to the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic; 3) your specific experience with asylum, or other immigration cases, and/or international human rights litigation or advocacy; 4) your professional goals and how this fellowship is related to your longer-term goals; 5) your understanding of the objectives of clinical teaching.

Address your application to: Clinical Fellowship, Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, U.C. Hastings, 200 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, and submit it electronically to rhrc@uchastings.edu. Please write in the subject line: your last name, RHRC Fellowship Application. The resume, law school transcript, writing sample and statement of interest should be sent as attachments to your email.

Deadline for applications: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are submitted, with a deadline of November 1, 2014.

KJ

August 4, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Toolkit for Withholding

Immigration Clinic on the front lines of immigration battle

UB_Law_Keyes

The Associated Press released a nice story about the University of Baltimore School of Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic and its director, Professor Elizabeth Keyes.  "Keyes said some of the most compelling cases are those of children who cross the U.S. border illegally, sometimes without family members accompanying them, and often fleeing gang violence."  Its not easy for all of them to get access to legal representation, especially for those who are detained at the border, Keyes said.

Keyes shares her clinic’s space (and, on occasion, some of its student-lawyers) with the Baltimore office of Kids in Need of Defense, a nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure no unaccompanied immigrant minor must appear in immigration court without representation. In its offices across the country, KIND recruits and trains attorneys who will take immigrant minors’ cases pro bono.

KJ

August 4, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Witnessing Justice: Transgender Woman Granted Asylum in Baltimore by FOBR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p500h-1ihCc 

This guest post on Lifted Lamp by Liz Keyes, who directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore, recounts the case of a young woman from Honduras, born male but always feeling female inside, won asylum after suffering relentless torment from her earliest days until she fled at age 17.

KJ

November 22, 2013 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)