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Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

Fall 2017 group




Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is directed by Professor and immigration expert​ Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia. At the Clinic, 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), the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), and Project South, among others. 

Students at the Clinic also engage in community outreach and education on immigration topics such as immigration remedies for victims of crimes and Presidential executive actions on immigration, and in this capacity has worked closely with the Borough of State College and local organizations on emerging immigration topics. The Clinic 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. ​​Following the Presidential election 2016, the Clinic has reached more than 500 individuals and families and served as a clearinghouse for the community and nationally on changing immigration law and policy.​ The Clinic 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.

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.

New from the Center:

A View from the Ground: Stories of Families Separated by the Presidential Proclamation (February 20, 2018):
This fact sheet provides an overview based on the experiences of individuals impacted by the Presidential Proclamation who are attempting to reunite with their family members in the United States but have had their waivers denied or are pending approval. These cases raise serious concerns about the waiver process and mean that some families are in limbo until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a final decision, which we anticipate in June 2018.

Update on DACA Rescission: (Updated February 14, 2018):
On January 9, the federal district court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide injunction ordering the Department of Homeland Security to continue the DACA program ordering DHS to maintain DACA on the same terms that existed prior to its rescission on September 5, 2017 and to allow qualifying DACA recipients to apply to renew their applications. The ruling does not apply to new DACA applicants or those seeking to travel on advance parole. Click here to view the USCIS Response to the court ruling. On February 13, the federal district court for the Eastern District of New York issued a nationwide injunction similar to the one issued by the California court. The government has requested that the Supreme Court hear the case.

Update on TPS: (Updated January 10, 2018):
Temporary Protected Status or TPS refers to a status certain nationals may receive when their home countries face ongoing conflict, natural disaster or other extraordinary conditions. In the last several months, DHS has ended TPS for the following nationalities (El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan) and in doing so has triggered great uncertainty for thousands of individuals and their families.

Litigation Update on Travel Ban 3.0 (February 2018): 
On December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ban violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. Said the court “The Proclamation, like its predecessor executive orders, relies on the premise that the Immigration and Nationality Act …vests the President with broad powers to regulate the entry of aliens. Those powers, however, are not without limit. We conclude that the President’s issuance of the Proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority.” The court limited the injunction to those “with a credible bona fide relationship with the United States” and then stayed its own decision pending a decision by the Supreme Court.

On February 15, 2018, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ban likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. It found that the Proclamation is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.” It further found that “an objective observer could conclude that the President’s repeated statements convey the primary purpose of the Proclamation—to exclude Muslims from the United States. In fact, it is hard to imagine how an objective observer could come to any other conclusion when the President’s own deputy press secretary made this connection express.” The court similarly limited the injunction to “foreign nationals with a bona fide relationship with an individual or entity in the United States,” and also stayed its own decision pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

Travel Ban 3.0 Litigation Update
Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Feburary 16, 2018.

For the Community: Learn and Know Your Rights
Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, January 28, 2018.

More information can be found here.

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