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Cases and Projects: 2022-2023

PENNSYLVANIA IMMIGRATION RESOURCE CENTER AND ALDEA-THE PEOPLE'S JUSTICE CENTER

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (CIRC) assisted ALDEA and PIRC with services and support related to Moshannon Valley Processing Center, including: specific tasks associated with legal representation of clients, providing pro se assistance to detainees, preparing documents for training or informational purposes, conducting legal research, and conducting workshops on specialized topics. 

Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC),a non-profit organization founded on the belief of equal access to justice, works to protect immigrants’ rights to freedom and opportunity in the United States. PIRC provides free legal services to vulnerable immigrants and their families through effective legal representation, legal counsel, education and orientation, and advocacy to help immigrants obtain or protect their legal status. 

ALDEA-the people’s justice center is a non-profit legal services organization that offers universal free representation to persons detained at the Berks County Residential Center and other persons detained in Pennsylvania, and provides free and low-cost legal and supportive services to the vulnerable members of the immigrant community nationwide.

Learning Goals:

Communication and collaboration, legal research and analysis, public speaking, empathy, professional judgment, problem-solving, and time management.


PARS EQUALITY CENTER AND KHANBABAI IMMIGRATION LAW

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (CIRC) will collaborate with PARS and Khanbabai Law on fact sheets and educational materials in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

PARS Equality Center’s mission is to catalyze social, civic, and economic integration of immigrants from Persian-speaking and other countries into American society. Pars Equality Center provides legal services to low-income immigrant communities and has been at the forefront of responding to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Khanbabai Immigration Law offers a full range of immigration services assisting clients with obtaining green cards, employment-based visas, asylum petitions, citizenship applications, adoptions, student visas, as well as other immigration matters. Mahsa Khanbabai serves as the co-chair of the Afghan Taskforce for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Learning Goals:

Communication and collaboration, legal research and analysis, and empathy


COLLABORATION WITH THE STATE COLLEGE MUNICIPALITY

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (CIRC) continued its collaboration with local government officials in an effort to inform the community, provide trainings on immigration, and help shape local policy regarding immigration.

Previously, the Clinic consulted with the Borough of State College and the State College Police Department to craft a revised policy on anti-bias-based policing and immigration, announced by Borough Manager Thomas J. Fountaine II and Police Department Chief John Gardner in 2017. The policy 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. Students at the Clinic have also provided training on the new policy and the role of law enforcement in assisting victims of crimes and trafficking. The policy reflects the official borough resolution passed last year to make State College an inclusive and welcoming place for immigrants and local residents regardless of their immigration status. The resolution was written in collaboration with Penn State Law professor and Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Director Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.

CIRC has been a member of Welcoming America since 2016. Each year, Welcoming America sponsors Welcoming Week, a series of events by members to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming immigrants. Since 2018, CIRC and the State College Municipality have partnered in delivering an event during Welcoming Week. In Fall 2021, they hosted a Naturalization Workshop and Celebration.

Learning Goals:

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


THIRD CIRCUIT BLOG WITH PENNSYLVANIA IMMIGRATION RESOURCE CENTER (PIRC)

The Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (CIRC) continued to update the Third Circuit Blog. The Blog was created in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC). The Blog consists of impartial summaries of precedential and select non-precedential Third Circuit immigration opinions relating to immigration relief from removal and detention.

Learning Goals:

Legal research and analysis, professional judgment, communication, and multidimensional lawyering.


University of Pittsburgh Immigration Clinic Collaboration

The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic collaborated with the University of Pittsburgh’s Immigration Law Clinic (“Pitt Law Immigration Clinic”) to support asylum seekers, with a particular emphasis on Afghan asylum cases. CIRC students interviewed asylum seekers, conducted legal research, helped fill out the asylum application, and gathered documents and evidence, as needed,

Asylum is a form of protection available to those who face persecution in their home country. To be eligible for asylum, an applicant must meet the definition of a refugee, which requires a person to show they have suffered persecution in the past or have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or memberships in a particular social group. The persecution must be by the government or a group the government is unable or unwilling to control. 

Pitt Law Immigration Clinic assists individuals who appear pro se Master at Calendar Hearings in Pittsburgh. They also represent individuals requesting asylum, facing removal from the United States, and seeking special protection under the Violence Against Women Act. Clients may include refugees, immigrant women, and children survivors of domestic violence applying to change their status, persons with criminal convictions who seek relief from removal from the United States, and other immigrant populations.

Learning Goals

Collaboration, legal research and analysis, client-centered communication, client interviewing and counseling, and empathy.