Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Students, Spring 2021
Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic "Welcoming the Other" Event, Spring 2019
Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC) is a nationally recognized in-house clinic focused on immigration and directed by its founder Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.
The CIRC provides law students with hands-on clinical training in immigration law through three pillars: community outreach and education, pro bono legal support, and policy work.
At the CIRC, students engage in community outreach and education on immigration topics such as immigration remedies for victims of crimes, DACA, the travel ban, and immigration enforcement, and in this capacity has worked closely with the State College municipality, university police, and local organizations on emerging immigration topics. The CIRC also provides legal support in individual cases of immigrants challenging deportation (removal) or seeking protection by the Department of Homeland Security and in the courts. In the last two years, the ClRC has reached hundreds of individuals and families and served as a clearinghouse for the community and nationally on changing immigration law and policy. In Fall 2018, students from CIRC worked with detained families in Berks Family Residential Center and assisted with their asylum claims and has also provided group rights presentations at local jails with immigration detainees. The CIRC is a member of Welcoming America, a national movement of organizations and municipal governments interested in making their communities more welcoming to immigrants and refugees. In the policy arena, students produce white papers, practitioner toolkits, and primers of national impact for institutional clients based in Washington D.C., and across the nation. Organizational clients have included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (AIC), Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), among others. Read more about CIRC’s impact on the community here: https://impact.psu.edu/story/building-community-through-compassion
Professor Wadhia’s teaching goal is for students to gain the skills required to be effective immigration advocates and attorneys. This requires a combined understanding and appreciation for immigration law, policy, and politics, and the relationships between them. Students have primary responsibility in making case/project-related decisions, reflecting deliberatively on their work, and collaborating with clients to achieve positive results.
2018 marked the 10-year year anniversary of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Dozens of graduates from the CIRC work as immigration attorneys around the United States.