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UConn Law Addresses DACA Immigration Policy
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UConn Law

Summary: UConn Law is offering a DACA clinic to help those being affected by the changes to the DACA program.

Law students at the University of Connecticut School of Law will be providing support and advice to those affected by the discontinuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, according to UConn Today. The Immigration and Detention and DACA Clinic will give the students valuable skills working with those affected by the policy changes that can be useful in their future careers.

  
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DACA was established in 2012 under the Obama administration. The policy allowed some individuals who illegally entered the country as minors to receive a two-year period of deferred action against them, meaning they would not be deported and could receive a work permit. As of 2017, there were around 800,000 enrolled in the program. The Trump administration is working to phase out the policy, leaving those enrolled in the program wondering what will happen to them.

The aim for the law students in the clinic is to help those facing the loss of their DACA status with appropriate advice and options that are within in the law. The clinic will also help immigrants in detention seek release and remain in the United States until their removal cases are litigated.

Law professor Jon Bauer, who runs the program with teaching fellow Anna Cabot, said, “There is a real need for legal services of this type. The issues at stake are very serious. People face being deported back to countries where they don’t know anyone, or where they may face serious persecution.”

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The clinic is a spinoff off of their Asylum and Human Rights Clinic founded in 2002. It will run as a part of the UConn School of Law Legal Clinic. Third-year student Stephanie O’Loughlin said, “We’re getting a lot of transferable skills, even if you’re not going into immigration. We’re really learning how to interview and counsel with our clients and learning how to tell them sometimes things that are difficult, which is the nature of any public interest law.”

Second-year student Jesse King added, “When you start to help people with no other option, you really understand what it is like to be an attorney. With the uncertainty of the DACA program, our clients don’t even know their status for the next couple of weeks. You have to distance yourself from the political climate.”



The clinic often has two students working with one client. King worked with second-year student Onya Brown. “We come from two completely different backgrounds and that helps us make decisions,” Brown stated. Second-year student Julia Steere appreciates the real-world experience she can gain. She said, “I’ve developed skills you don’t get in a traditional setting.”

The clinic is working with the ACLU Immigrant Protection Project of Western Massachusetts and RAICES, a legal assistance program at the Karnes County Detention Center in Texas. Many of the clients they work with are unaware of their rights, according to third-year student Taylor Faranda Korthuis.

Would you trust law students who are still learning everything with important legal tasks? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about free clinics offered by law schools, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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