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In Our Community

Recent Events:

To see more event information, visit the Archived Event section of our Immigration After the Election page.

Welcoming the Other
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | 7:00 p.m. | Sutliff Auditorium, Lewis Katz Building

Welcoming the Other was a community event facilitated by State College-area leaders. We seek to build bridges among the many parts of our community by inquiring into the meaning of the national motto E pluribus unum—From many, one.

Penn State Leaders Welcome 'the Other' in Panel Discussion About Immigrant, Minority Rhetoric, The Daily Collegian, March 28, 2019.

Welcoming the Other: Photos, The Daily Collegian, March 27, 2019.


Mokita Dialogues
Thursday, January 24 | Noon-1:00 p.m. | New Leaf Initiative, State College Municipal Building
243 S Allen St., Suite 337, State College

Professor Wadhia and students from the Clinic participated in a conversation that covered a range of recent immigration policy changes, including restrictions on asylum, separation of families, and the termination of those with a legal or recognized status in the U.S. For more information, visit


students at BerksInside Family Detention: Stories from the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
Thursday, November 1 | 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. | Sutliff Auditorium, Lewis Katz Building

Attendees heard from law students and Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia about their experiences with detained families in Berks County Residential Center.  Event Video

Link to presentation slidesPenn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Municipality of State College Present: Immigration and Equity Summit
September 17, 2018 | 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 2nd Floor Municipal Building | 243 S. Allen Street | State College, PA

To mark Welcoming Week, community leaders shared their views on current immigration policies and the benefits of welcoming everyone into our community. Speakers included Clinic representatives, the Chief of Police, Borough Manager, and an individual impacted by changing immigration policy (see first video below). Immediately following the event, the State College Borough issued two proclamations: one declaring September 16-22, 2018, as Welcoming Week; and the second declaring September 2018 as Hispanic Heritage Month (see second video below). For more information, see the Immigration Summit Fact Sheet and local (WTAJ) news coverage of the event.

Welcoming Week Proclamation - Full Text

Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation - Full Text

Image links to video of the Immigration Summit


Collaboration with University Police, University Park, PA

In spring 2019, clinic students William Hobson and Berenice Beltrán-Maldonado developed and presented immigration training to the police force in University Park over several sessions. The training covered a variety of topics, including available immigration resources, basic terminology, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), U and T Visas, working with vulnerable populations, and more.

Training Powerpoint, Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, 2019.



Berks Journal cover thumbnailInside Family Detention: Notes on the Ground by Penn State Law Center for Immigrants Rights' Clinic
From September 30 through October 4, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic served as advocates for families who are about to undergo their credible or reasonable fear interviews. This publication is a journal of their experiences at Berks.

Press Release


Group photo of Clinic volunteers at Constitution Day 2018Constitution Day 2018
Sunday, September 16, 2018  |  Grange Park, Centre Hall

For the second straight year, the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic was proud to set up a tent at the 2018 Constitution Day celebration, which took place on September 16, 2018, at Grange Park in Centre Hall. Clinic members provided information about the work of the clinic and emerging immigration issues in the Trump administration, and presented a poster about immigration and the Constitution that included topics like the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Link to presentation slidesThe Travel Ban Decision and Family Separation: What You Need to Know
Thursday, July 5, 2018  |  12:00 p.m.  |  Penn State Law Clinics, 329 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 118

Presentation (PDF)

Event audio (courtesy of WPSU)

Handouts from the event



Professor Wadhia speakingOn June 4, 2018, Professor Wadhia accepted the State College Borough's Immigrant Heritage Month proclamation on behalf of the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic.

Video of the ceremony is available online (on the right side of the screen, select the fourth chapter to skip to the proclamation). 

The Future of Immigration Policies Under the Trump Administration: An Information Session
Tuesday, March 27 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | 112 Katz

Event Video
Presentation (PDF)

Handouts From Event:
Deferred Enforcement Departure for Liberians: What We Know

Liberia DED Talking Points

Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2018

National TPS Alliance Fact Sheet

TPS Legislative Comparison Chart

The Future of Immigration Policies Under the Trump Administration Presentation (PDF)
March 27, 2018 | 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | 112 Lewis Katz Building
State College, PA



Collaboration with State College Police Department

In January and February 2018, clinic students Mark Diaz (’19) and Deokhee Ryu (’18) developed and presented a training for police on immigration.  The training covered immigration 101 and information about the U and T visa. 

On October 16, 2017, the Borough of State College Manager Tom Fountaine and Police Chief John Gardner announced a revised policy on anti-bias-based policing and immigration. The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic worked closely with the State College Police Department and Borough of State College to craft a policy that among other things, encourages noncitizens to utilize police services and states that as a general practice, the State College Police do not ask or collect information about immigration status. The policy also outlines two types of immigration remedies available to victims and the specific role of law enforcement.

To learn more about this policy, please see:

DACA Workshop
January 28, 2018 | 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. | Penn State Law Clinics, 329 Innovation Park, Suite 118


DACA Workshop Presentation, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, January 28, 2018.

For the Community: Learn and Know Your Rights, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, April 4, 2018.
For the Community: Learn and Know Your Rights (Korean version)
For the Community: Learn and Know Your Rights (Spanish version)

Sources for DACA Renewal Workshop, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, January 28, 2018.


Educating and Supporting Children from Immigrant Families: What Educators Need to Know

October 4, 2017 | 3:45-5:15 p.m. | Panorama Village Board Room
PowerPoint Presentation PDF, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights, October 4, 2017.
Event Video, State College Area School District, October 4, 2017.
Know Your Rights, Anti-Muslim Discrimination, ACLU, December 2016.

Announcement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: What We Know, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, September 2017.
DACA Rescission 2017: What We Know, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, September 2017.
Travel Ban Fact Sheet, Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Muslim Advocates, and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, September 2017.
The Key Players and Terms in Immigration Law, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights, October 2017.
All Children Belong Here, Anti-Bias Education Exchange, April 2017.
Immigrant Students' Rights to Attend Public Schools, Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2017.
Help for Immigrant Families, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 2017.
School District Enrollment Notice Language, Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2017.

Town Hall on the New Travel Ban

Friday, September 29, 2017 | 3:30 p.m. | 112 Katz
Powerpoint Presentation
Facebook Live Video

The Future of DACA: What Lies Ahead

September 20, 2017 | 6:30 p.m. | 116 Lewis Katz Building, University Park

Constitution 230 Celebration
September 17, 2017 | Grange Park, Centre Hall | 1:00-6:00 p.m.

In 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution.  For 230 years, we the people have enjoyed and debated the freedoms, responsibilities and rights outlined in Constitutional articles and amendments.  
Celebrations included exhibits, musical performances, speakers, and free pocket constitutions. Professor Wadhia spoke, and the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic hosted a table exhibit. 

Clinic Accepts Immigrant Heritage Month Proclamation from State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham

Professor Wadhia and community members at borough ceremonyOn June 5, 2017, Professor Wadhia accepted the State College Borough's Immigrant Heritage Month proclamation on behalf of the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic.

Video of the ceremony is available on the CNET website (click the chapters tab and select Chapter 5).


Clinic Hosts Information Session on Immigration Executive Orders 

Video Thumbnail of Information Session | Penn State LawOn February 3, the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic and the Borough of State College presented a community information session covering the president's executive orders relating to immigration enforcement, refugees, and Muslim immigration. Click the image on the left to view video of the event.


Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Hosts Statewide Teach-In

The recent presidential campaign and post-election rhetoric put a spotlight on immigrants and their rights in the United States. The Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic has been working hard to offer the immigrant community resources and guidance in the recent weeks, and on Jan. 12, those efforts culminated in a Statewide Teach-In on Immigrants’ Rights in the Lewis Katz Building in University Park.

Video of the Statewide Teach-In on Immigrants' Rights

Immigration After the Election

Please visit our Immigration After the Election page for resources available regarding the impact of the presidential election on immigration. 

Clinic Collaborates with Bibles, Badges and Business

In collaboration with Bibles, Badges and Business, the Center for Immigrants Rights Clinic hosted a State College, PA Forum in the Lewis Katz Building on November 1, 2016, at which leaders from the business, labor, faith, and legal perspectives offered their points-of-view regarding immigration reform.  Ms. Liz Dong, BBB’s Midwest Mobilizer, served as the moderator for the event. 

Click the image to view the recording of the event. 


Clinic Hosts Welcoming Week Event

In celebration of Welcoming America's Welcoming Week, held Sept. 16-25, the Clinic hosted "Asylum 101" in the Apfelbaum Courtroom in the Lewis Katz Building on Thursday, September 22. More details on the event can be found here, and the full video of the event can be viewed here.


Work on Behalf of the State College Borough and Mayor Elizabeth Goreham

Borough Resolution to Welcome and Protect Immigrants

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 Penn State Law 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. 

Click the image above to view video of the Borough Council passing the resolution (skip to 20:33/Chapter 4).

News Coverage of Resolution

Immigration Issues After U.S. v. Texas: A Community Dialogue

Immigration Issues After U.S. v. Texas | Penn State LawThe center held a community forum on August 31, 2016, in the State College Municipal Building to help answer the local community's questions in the wake of the non-decision in U.S. v. Texas. The event was co-sponsored with the Penn State School of Labor and Employment Relations, the Centre County Women’s Resource CenterState College Borough, and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. More on the event is available on the center's website.

Click the image above to view a video of the event.

United States v. Texas

As part of the the center's continuing work with State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, clinic students David Harrington and Faith Van Horn spoke at the State College Borough Council meeting on April 18, 2016. They 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.

Click the image to the left to to see a recording of the students' Borough Council presentation, which begins at the 00:9:52 mark.

Mayoral Response to Injunction Against DAPA and Expanded DACA

The center provided legal analysis and support to Mayor Elizabeth Goreham on the issues surrounding the injunction by Texas District Judge Andrew Hanen against the implementation of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs. 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.

Media coverage of the mayor's amicus brief endorsement:

The center also created a flyer discussing updates on the litigation, including national responses to the injunction.

Local Government, Local Police and Immigration Enforcement

In fall 2015, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic collaborated with the office of the Borough of State College mayor, council, and Police Chief Thomas King to deliver a presentation on local police and immigration enforcement. During this event, Police Chief King indicated his support for a written policy on this topic to include, among other things, restrictions on asking about immigration status when victims and witnesses report crimes. During the spring semester, the center will work with both the mayor and Chief King to develop and build support for this policy.

Local Police and Immigration Enforcement slides

Welcoming Refugees

On April 22, 2016,  Penn State Law hosted a panel discussion on the world refugee crisis, exploring both the public policy implications and the frontlines of refugee resettlement in the United States. The event was entitled Welcoming Refugees: Policy and Personal Perspectives.

Guest Speakers:
Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Herman Stern Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International Law and Public Policy, Temple University
Madap Sharma, Refugee Site Director, Lutheran Children and Family Service
Bilal Al Tememi, Senior Resettlement Case Worker, Lutheran Children and Family Service
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Director, Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (moderator)

The event was sponsored by the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, the International Law Society, the Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Immigration, and the Muslim Legal Society.

A video recording of the event is available online.

President's Immigration Executive Actions

Clinic students speaking at Borough Council meeting

The Center for Immigrants' Rights has also collaborated with the Office of the Mayor of State College to educate the community on President Barack Obama's executive action programs. In this capacity, students at the center presented on select programs (DAPA and DACA) to the community at a Borough Council meeting and facilitated legal analysis or advocacy in connection with litigation to support these programs.

Click the image on the left to see a recording of the students' Borough Council presentation, which begins at the 00:01:45 mark.


Legal Education and Case Support

Immigration Issues Flyer | Penn State Law

Immigration Issues After U.S. v. Texas

On August 31, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic will co-sponsor a community event addressing “Immigration Issues After U.S. v. Texas.” The forum, featuring perspectives from legal experts, local government, and faith-based groups, is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in room 201 of the State College Municipal Building. This free event is open to the public. To register, email

In addition to the center, the event is co-sponsored by the Borough of State College, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, the School of Labor & Employee Relations within the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.

Rights and Remedies Flyer | Penn State LawRights and Remedies After U.S. v. Texas

The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is hosting an “Information Session for the Immigration Community on Rights and Remedies After U.S. v. Texas” from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, in Suite 118 of the 329 Building at Innovation Park on Penn State’s University Park Campus. The event is co-sponsored by the Borough of State College, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, the School of Labor & Employee Relations within the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, the Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, and Schneck & Harley Immigration Law Group, LLP.


Reethinking Reentry: Prosecution, Defense, and Human Rights Perspectives

RethinRethinking Reentryking Reentry: Prosecution, Defense, and Human Rights Perspectives” was a panel discussion hosted by the center on April 21,featuring Peter J. Smith, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Heidi Freese, assistant federal public defender for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Grace Meng, senior researcher for the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch; and Lori Ulrich, assistant federal public defender for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.The panelists discussed the federal interests in prosecuting noncitizens for illegal entry and reentry under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1325-1326, whether such federal interests are served when considering the significant humanitarian costs of the prosecutions, and the role of prosecutorial discretion.


Centre County Bar Association Collaboration

The Centre County Bar Association has approximately 180 members, and includes trial attorneys, judges, government attorneys, corporate attorneys and general practitioners in the Centre region. The Bar Association's purpose is to foster and protect excellence in legal services to the public in general and to promote respect, civility, collegiality and professionalism within the legal community. The Bar Association serves low-income residents through a referral service and also works with MidPenn Legal Services, a non-profit that provides high quality civil legal services to low-income residents and survivors of domestic violence in 18 counties in Central Pennsylvania.

On behalf of the Centre County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic plays a supporting role in immigration cases within the Centre County region and surrounding area. Working under the supervision of Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, students meet with low-income individuals seeking immigration help, assist with matching such individuals with an immigration attorney and prepare research memos and supporting documents for individuals who are represented by a pro bono or public service attorney. As practicable, students present Continuing Legal Education Programs for the bar on immigration topics.

Centre County Women's Resource Center

The Centre County Women’s Resource Center (CCWRC), a nonprofit organization located in State College, Pa., 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.

Toolkit on Immigration Relief for Victims of Abuse and Domestic Violence

On behalf of CCWRC's Civil Legal Representation Project, the center created a toolkit, "Immigration Relief for Victims of Abuse and Domestic Violence," to help practitioners in representing immigrant victims of domestic abuse. The toolkit includes information about the following remedies: the U visa, the T visa, VAWA self-petition, VAWA cancellation of removal, and prosecutorial discretion. Specifically, it contains an analysis of the substantive materials on these subjects, including relevant statutes, regulations, agency memoranda, and secondary sources.

Community Presentation on Remedies Available to Immigrant Victims

On behalf of CCWRC, the Center for Immigrants' Rights developed a community education plan to inform community members about legal remedies and services available to immigrant victims of domestic violence and other crimes who reside 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 and created fact sheets and accessible materials on the U visa, the T visa, VAWA self-petitions, and prosecutorial discretion for victims. Students hosted community events to educate area residents about immigration remedies for victims of domestic violence and abuse and the services provided by the CCWRC’s Civil Legal Representation Project to immigrant victims of domestic violence. 

Presentation Slides
Opening & Panel 1 Webinar
Panel 2 Webinar

Group Rights Presentations at Clinton County Correctional Facility

Many detained non-citizens are deported without access to a lawyer or basic information about the requirements for applying for relief from removal or seeking release from detention. Without court-appointed counsel or sufficient resources to provide education, immigration detainees are often forced to navigate their cases alone. Under the detention standards put forth by ICE, immigration detainees have a right to group legal presentations on U.S. immigration law and procedure. Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights has been approved by ICE to conduct these presentations at Clinton County Correctional Facility (“CCJ”). CCJ, a county jail located approximately 45 minutes away in McElhattan, PA, is used as a holding facility by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO). Under the supervision Professor Wadhia, students at the Center conducted group legal presentations to immigration detainees held at CCJ to inform them about the deportation process and possible immigration remedies. 

Community Forum on Immigration Raid in State College

On June 12, 2014, agents from Homeland Security Investigation (HSI*) and other law enforcement agencies conducted an immigration raid of several Asian restaurants in State College. Subsequently, more than a dozen people were apprehended and detained. During the 2014-15 academic year, the center was involved in responding to the aftermath of the raid through community outreach and education and individual representation.

The Center of Immigrants' Rights, on behalf of the Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Immigration, held a panel discussion on the raid on Nov. 18 in the State College Municipal Building: "Why State College?" A Panel Discussion on the Immigration Raid in Our Community.

Takeaway Materials from the Panel Discussion about the Immigration Raid in State College

Media coverage of the event:

- Centre Daily Times​Panelists Address Immigration Raid Conducted in State College​
- WPSU-FM: Community Event Discusses Immigration in Response to Enforcement Raids in State College
- WTAJ-TV: Why Raid State College?

For more information on the raid:

- "Three Remain in Federal Custody Months After Restaurant Raids," Centre Daily Times, Sept. 16, 2014
- "Feds Continue Investigation Related to Restaurant Raids in State College,", Sept. 16, 2014

- "Raids, rights and the rule of law," by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Centre Daily Times, June 24, 2014

Presentation on Immigration to the University Mennonite Church

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic collaborated with the University Mennonite Church to educate the community on how immigration enforcement impacts communities and families. In this capacity, students at the center presented on the recent developments affecting immigration enforcement, the State College immigration raid and how immigration laws and policies impact our community. The University Mennonite Church is a local congregation, with a commitment to community education and a concern for social justice.

DACA Community Workshop for Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic hosted a community workshop to educate the Penn State and State College communities about DACA. The discussion focused on eligibility requirements, the application process, and the potential risks associated with DACA. 




DACA Presentation for Good Shepherd Catholic Church’s Just Faith Group

In collaboration with Good Shepherd Catholic Church’s Just Faith Group, a center student led a presentation and discussion on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that provides a discretionary grant of relief to certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service. While deferred action does not lead to lawful permanent residence or citizenship, individuals granted DACA receive a temporary suspension from deportation and the authorization to work in the U.S. 

Coverage of Previous Symposia & Colloquia Hosted by the Clinic

Immigration Adjudications: Court Reform & Beyond (2010)

30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act (2010)

10th Anniversary of 9/11 (2011)

Immigration Remedies for Victims of Domestic Abuse (2012)