Clinic students bring immigration law library to county jail
Aug. 29, 2013
PORTLAND, Maine – Student interns this summer at the University of Maine School of Law’s Refugee and Human Rights Clinic created an immigration law library at the Cumberland County Jail. For immigrant detainees facing possible deportation, the library will help educate them on their legal rights.
“On any given day, the jail detains anywhere from one to 30 immigrants, many of whom have broken no laws other than being in the United States without authorization,” said Libra Visiting Professor Anna Welch, director of the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic.
“Seeing that the jail had no resources on hand for these individuals relevant to their immigration cases, summer intern Katherine Power and Bowdoin fellow Hannah Wurgaft conducted an extensive community fundraising effort to develop an immigration law library. The community support for this project was incredible.”
The Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, launched in the fall of 2012, is a popular option for students seeking hands-on experience in public interest law. Student attorneys, supervised by Welch, represent clients on a variety of immigration matters. Each case is unique. One situation might pair a student attorney with a man seeking asylum because he was jailed and tortured in his home country due to his political beliefs. Another case might involve an immigrant woman who is a victim of domestic violence.
The RHRC is also collaborating with the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Portland to develop a pro se asylum manual, which will serve as a how-to guide for asylum seekers in filing their asylum applications and accessing immigration relief.