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  • Immigrants' Rights Clinic Class of 2017-2018 Photo Header Banner

Cases and Projects -- Academic Year 2017-2018


The clinic is actively involved in community outreach and providing resources regarding the 2016 election and subsequent immigration policies. For more information on this clinic project, please visit our Immigration After the Election page.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, multidimensional lawyering, public speaking, empathy, professional judgment, problem solving, attorney-client relationship building, leadership, collaboration.

Collaboration with Muslim Advocates and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

The clinic is in collaboration with Muslim Advocates and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on matters relating to the impact of the election on Arab and Muslim communities and the implementation of the Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” as the parties mutually agree.  The clinic will conduct legal research and analysis on potential challenges to the Executive Orders and prepare written summaries and memos on the same. On behalf of Muslim Advocates, the Center will help develop a report on discrimination at the border and related issues; for this project students may participate in related Institutional Review Board training, research primary and secondary sources, and create and participate in surveys with impacted members of the community.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage.  ADC supports the human and civil rights of all people and opposes racism and bigotry in any form.  ADC was founded by former U.S. Senator James Abourezk in 1980 and is today the largest Arab American grassroots organization in the U.S.

Muslim Advocates is a legal advocacy and educational organization that fights for civil rights and justice for Americans of all faiths.  Muslim Advocates collaborates with allies inside and outside of the government to tackle the most urgent issues facing the American Muslim community. Specifically, Muslim Advocates fights discrimination by filing high impact lawsuits against those who wrongfully target American Muslims. Additionally, Muslim Advocates strives to empower the Muslim community by strengthening American Muslim charities and educating people about their legal rights.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, collaboration, and community outreach. 

Collaboration with the State College Borough

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic is continuing its collaboration with local government officials in an effort to inform the community and help shape local policy regarding immigration after the presidential election.

Borough Council Passes Resolution in Collaboration with Clinic

The Borough of State College is officially an inclusive and welcoming place for immigrants and local residents regardless of their immigration status, thanks to a formal resolution that came out of a partnership with the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. The resolution—which was unanimously passed by the State College Borough Council on Jan. 9—was written in collaboration with Penn State Law professor and Immigrants’ Rights Clinic director Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.

State College Police Department Adopts Written Policy on Immigration

In Fall 2017, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic consulted with the borough and the State College Police Department to craft a revised policy on anti-bias-based policing and immigration. Borough Manager Thomas J. Fountaine II and Police Department Chief John Gardner announced the policy on Oct. 16. CNET coverage of the announcement is available online (starting at the 88:52 mark). Starting in November 2017 and during spring 2018, students at the clinic will provide training on the new policy and the role of law enforcement in assisting victims of crimes and trafficking to members of the police department.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, multidimensional lawyering, public speaking, empathy, professional judgment, problem solving, attorney-client relationship building, leadership, collaboration.


The Center will assist X who is seeking a U visa as a victim of crime. The Center will focus on communicating with local law enforcement and government officials to assist with her application.

The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes. (Source: USCIS)

PIRC was founded in 1996 on the principles of service and access to justice in response to the detention of the refugees of the Golden Venture.  Our principles guide PIRC’s programs, protecting immigrants’ rights to freedom and opportunity in the United States, giving voice to the most vulnerable immigrants and their families.  PIRC provides free, effective legal representation, legal services, education and advocacy to help immigrants obtain or protect their legal status.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, professional judgment, communication and collaboration.

Pro Bono Withholding of Removal Case on Behalf of the Law Office of Juliette Gomez

The Center will assist J who is seeking asylum related relief known as “withholding of removal” as a defense to removal before the Philadelphia Immigration Court.

Withholding of removal is a form of protection available to those who face persecution in their home country. Specifically, applicants must be able to show that their life or freedom would be threatened upon removal from the United States. J will seek this form of protection in a limited proceeding known as a “withholding only” proceeding.

The Law Office of Juliette E. Gomez is based in Philadelphia, PA and specializes in removal defense and creative solutions for undocumented and transnational families.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, professional judgment, communication and collaboration.

Study on the Lived Experience of DACA Beneficiaries Who Are Currently Attending or Have Graduated from a U.S. Law School: On Behalf of the Center For American Progress

The Center for Immigrants’ Rights will write a research report on the lived experience of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries who are currently attending or have graduated from a U.S. law school. Specifically, students will conduct a phenomenological interdisciplinary research study, combining social science and the law. The students will interview DACA beneficiaries and analyze the beneficiaries' personal, professional, and familial experiences in the wake of the new presidential administration. The report will be published by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

DACA is a program created in 2012 that enables certain people who entered the United States before the age of 16 to apply for and receive a type of prosecutorial discretion called “deferred action.” While a grant of DACA does not amount to a formal legal status, the program has enabled more than 700,000 young people to contribute to the American economic, educational and cultural fabric in meaningful ways. The Center has worked in the DACA space since its inception in 2012.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an American nonpartisan policy institute that advances progressive ideas in different policy arenas of national interest, including immigration. Founded in 2003, CAP strives to change the conversation around policy issues and ultimately help create positive change in the country. The immigration policy teams has published research on a wide range of  topics, including the economic effects of removing authorized and unauthorized workers, sanctuary policies, and the educational trajectories of DACA beneficiaries.