Cases and Projects* -- Academic Year 2011-2012
American Bar Association Commission on Immigration
The American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration (Commission) directs the Association's efforts to ensure fair treatment and full due process rights for immigrants and refugees within the United States. Guided by resolutions adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, the Commission works to coordinate and strengthen the ABA's response to legal developments and to address the needs of immigrants and newcomers. Among the Commission's greatest concerns are safeguarding due process, the growing reliance on detention, and the lack of access to legal information and counsel for individuals in immigration proceedings, particularly unaccompanied immigrant children. The ABA Board of Governors has designated immigration to be a legislative priority of the ABA in each Congress since 1992.
On behalf of the Commission students at the Center prepared a confidential report concerning compliance with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Standards at the immigration detention facility at Clinton County Jail. To reach this end, the Center reviewed and researched related legal standards, treatises, and related materials. The Center communicated with and traveled to Clinton County Jail to interview jail personnel as well as select detainees regarding standards of care. In addition, and as practicable, the Center spoke with relevant stakeholders throughout the United States, including government personnel, members of the private bar, NGOS and others, to gather information on cases, related best practices and other tips.
Centre County Women's Resource Center
The Center County Women’s Resource Center’s (CCWRC), Civil Legal Representation Project (CLRP) provides legal representation to survivors of domestic violence in family law matters. Survivors of domestic violence often fear leaving their abusers because of concerns about custody of their children and child support. When they do leave, survivors are often faced with the daunting prospect of navigating the legal system without representation. Some abusers use the legal system against their victims after they leave an abusive relationship as a way of continuing to seek control over their victims. The CLRP staff understands the dynamics of domestic violence and sexual abuse and how those dynamics affect survivors in the family law system and is committed to working with clients so that they have the information and legal assistance they need to help achieve and maintain independence from their abusers.
The CLRP is a project of Centre County Women’s Resource Center, a non-profit organization located in State College, PA that provides a range of services to victims including a 24 hour crisis hotline, crisis counseling, emergency shelter, transitional housing, advocacy, support groups, family law legal services, and referrals to other appropriate community programs. CCWRC is a leading voice for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the Central Pennsylvania region and provides advocacy and education on topics related to domestic and sexual abuse in the community.
On behalf of CCWRC, students at the Center drafted and developed a handbook containing substantive and practical tools for serving immigrant victims of trafficking and other crimes residing in Centre County and surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania. To reach this end, the Center reviewed and researched related legal standards, treatises, and related materials. In addition to discussing the substantive law relating to immigration remedies for victims of trafficking and other crimes, students at the Center spoke with relevant stakeholders throughout the United States, including government personnel, members of the private bar, NGOS and others, to gather information on cases, best practices for identifying and serving women who are potentially eligible for immigration remedies in the form of “U” and “T” visas.
National Guestworker Alliance
The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) is a membership organization of guestworkers. NGA's members organize in labor camps across the United States to win collective dignity at work. NGA’s rapidly expanding membership in the landscaping, construction, hospitality, and seafood processing. is engaging in workplace and policy fights across many industries to win dignified conditions, just migration policy, and new rights and protections for all workers. NGA also partners with local workers-employed and unemployed-to strengthen U.S. social movements for racial and economic justice. In August 2011, NGA organized a walkout of 200 foreign born workers at the Hershey Chocolate packing plant in Palmyra, PA and revealed a number of legal and policy questions about the Department of State's summer work and travel program.
On behalf of NGA, students at the Center drafted and developed a report on important policy changes to the H-2B program necessary to protect both U.S. workers and guestworkers. To reach this end, the Center reviewed and researched related legal standards, treatises, and related materials. The students also reviewed evidence accumulated by the NGA through past litigation, administrative advocacy, and outreach. In developing and prioritizing policy recommendations, as practicable, students at the Center spoke with relevant stakeholders throughout the United States, including H-2B worker leaders, representatives of the U.S. labor movement, Civil rights leaders, representatives of other Excluded Worker Sectors, and labor movement leaders from sending countries.
Rights Working Group
Formed in the aftermath of September 11th, Rights Working Group (RWG) is a national coalition of over 320 organizations from across the country representing civil liberties, national security, immigrant rights and human rights advocates. RWG seeks to restore civil liberties and human rights protections that have eroded since 9/11, ensuring that the rights of all people in the U.S. are respected regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or citizenship or immigration status. Currently, RWG leads the Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign, which seeks to end racial and religious profiling.
NSEERS was a national security program that enlisted thousands of noncitizens to immigration officers for fingerprints, photographs and lengthy interrogations. The NSEERS program was controversial because it targeted noncitizen males from Muslim majority countries and led to a variety of harms, among them detention, deportation charges, and mistrust among affected communities. Ten years later, the government operates the NSEERS program as an immigration enforcement tool that is used to target noncitizens who failed to comply with NSEERS. In many cases, such noncitizens have built their families and livelihood in the United States.
On behalf of RWG, students at the Center updated a 2009 white paper on the special registration program ("National Security Entry and Exit Registration System"). To reach this end, the Center reviewed the existing body of law and policy around NSEERS and also examined related policy developments since 2009. The report considered whether the current NSEERS program advances national security, operates as an immigration enforcement tool, and/or promotes the profiling of Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims and South Asians entering or residing in the United States. Students based their findings on policy research, and interviews with relevant government personnel, members of the private bar, non-governmental organizations and members of affected communities.
* Note: Clients have given special permission for information contained in this document to be shared publicly.