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Immigration clinic students to make two community presentations on U.S. v. Texas

Faith Van Horn and David Harrington, students in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, made two presentations this month to educate the University community on United States v. Texas and how the case will impact local communities.
Faith Van Horn and David Harrington | Penn State Law

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Students in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law made two presentations this month to educate State College residents and Penn State students on United States v. Texas and how the case will impact local communities.  

Clinic students David Harrington and Faith Van Horn spoke to the Penn State College Democrats student organization at 8 p.m. on April 11 in 62 Willard Building. A week later, on April 18—the same day of oral arguments at the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas—Harrington and Van Horn spoke at the State College Borough Council meeting. Archived video of their Borough Council presentation is available online (the mayor's introduction of Harrington and Van Horn begins at the 9:52 mark).

United States v. Texas was brought by the state of Texas and 25 other states to challenge the legal authority of President Barack Obama and his administration to operate the two executive actions on immigration that he announced in 2014, the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

DACA and DAPA provide temporary permission through a type of prosecutorial discretion called “deferred action” for certain noncitizens to lawfully remain in the United States. Initiated in 2012, DACA offers protections to certain people who entered the United States before the age of 16 who are pursuing education, whereas the DAPA program provides deferred action for parents in the United States who have children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents and have been in the U.S. since before 2010, among other qualifications. 

At both the College Democrats and State College Borough Council events, Harrington and Van Horn provided an overview of current immigration law and policy and outlined the issues at stake in United States v. Texas. They explained how the case could affect local communities and families and discussed actions that communities and local governments can take in the current legal climate.

Both events are products of the clinic’s continuing collaboration with State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham to educate the local community about immigration law and its local impact. Last year, the clinic collaborated with the mayor, Borough Council, and State College Police Chief Thomas King to deliver a presentation on local police and immigration enforcement. Clinic students also testified before the State College Borough Council last year on DACA and DAPA.

The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic also provided legal analysis and support to Goreham on the issues surrounding the injunction against the implementation of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs by Texas District Judge Andrew Hanen. This collaboration laid the groundwork for the mayor’s endorsement of an amicus brief signed by 73 mayors, cities, county executives, and counties from across the country in support of the president’s executive actions on immigration. More recently, Goreham signed on to a Supreme Court amicus brief along with 117 other city and local government officials from across the country.

Under the supervision of Penn State Law professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, students in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic produce white papers, practitioner toolkits, and primers of national impact for institutional clients based in Washington, D.C., and across the nation. The clinic also engages in community outreach and education and provides legal support in individual cases of immigrants challenging deportation or seeking protection by the Department of Homeland Security and in the courts.

More information on the clinic’s community outreach is available on the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic website.

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