Welcome back to our Law School Spring Break highlights 2019! One of the more popular projects for law school alternative spring break 2019 was immigration work. Today we are highlighting three schools that sent students to do immigration pro bono work over spring break 2019. Read below to find out what each school reported about their 2019 Alternative Spring Break projects!
Fordham University School of Law
Fordham University School of Law has an Immigration Advocacy Project (IAP), a student group that advocates for the end of family detention and organizes three service trips every year to work with the Dilley Pro Bono Project in Texas. During Spring Break 2019, IAP and the Feerick Center for Social Justice sponsored a service trip to Dilley, Texas to work with women and children refugees in family detention. Students provided limited-scope legal assistance and engaged in systemic advocacy on behalf of these asylum-seeking families detained in the South Texas Family Residential Center.
We asked students to share their experiences from their work in Dilley with us. Here is what they had to say:
Going to Dilley was such a challenging and incredible experience. It was an honor to meet with and hear the stories of the amazing, strong women who made the treacherous journey to the United States. I am also so thankful to have worked with such an amazing group of advocates in Dilley who helped me get through the more difficult moments of the week and inspired me to become a better advocate myself. I am glad I was able to go on this service trip on my spring break because it allowed me to work on some valuable legal skills, such as interviewing and counseling, as well as be able to do some good and meet new people.—Claire Amodio, 2L
My work with the Dilley Pro Bono Project is the most meaningful work I've done in law school. It was an immense privilege to work on behalf of such amazing and resilient women and children. I hope to return to Dilley later this year!—Sophia Rivero, 1L
Rutgers Law School
During Spring Break 2019, 15 Rutgers Law School students traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to work alongside four different legal services organizations to provide pro bono services and gain experience in the legal field. Students who worked with Catholic Charities focused on immigration work. At Catholic Charities, students learned the differences between the types of visas that are available when working with potential clients. One student said, “as someone who wants to enter the immigration law field, this was an amazing opportunity and solidified that this is the career path I want to take.” Another student who worked at Catholic Charities said that he worked on drafting a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) request before an immigration court.
Alternative Spring Break is an important trip for the students, Rutgers Law School and the community in the city they travel to. Alternative Spring Break gives students a change to use the writing and research skills learned in the classroom to benefit a city and group of people outside their own backyard.
University of Tennessee College of Law
The University of Tennessee had three Alternative Spring Break trips this year. One group of students traveled to El Paso, TX to work on immigration law projects with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, a nonprofit that serves the legal needs of low-income immigrants. As part of this work, students went to the El Paso Processing Center to work with immigrant detainees and prepare them for their credible fear interview.
Javier Corral, a UT student who traveled to El Paso, told us the following about his work during Alternative Spring Break:
My alternative spring break project to El Paso Texas gave me the chance to give back to a community that means so much to me. When I enrolled in law school, I was ninety percent sure I wanted to do immigration law, thanks to this project I am completely sure that this is what I want to pursue. During my week there, we volunteer with a nonprofit that focuses on immigration law. Because of that, we were granted clearance to go to the El Paso Processing Center and prepare the detainee immigrants for their credible fear interview. Going to the processing center you get to see the harsh reality of what these immigrants go through, just for the chance that they might receive asylum. A lot of the detainees in the processing center have never committed a crime in the U.S. or in their home country, yet they are treated like criminals when they get to the U.S. Being able to talk to the clients over the phone or in person, and hearing their story makes you understand how much they have been through, how much they have suffered and the consequences of what will happen if they are sent back home. The more I learn about our immigration system the more I realized how broken it is. The work that Las Americas does is incredible, and I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to volunteer.
Thank you to law students for all of your hard work during Alternative Spring Break 2019! We look forward to hearing more about your pro bono work as you continue with your careers! Check back soon for more Spring Break 2019 Highlights!