Georgia Law clinic joins in publishing advisory for immigrant detainees

The Community Health Law Partnership Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law and four other law school clinics have published a lengthy practice advisory intended to assist immigrants currently or previously held at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

The practice advisory is designed to help them in seeking damages, stays of removal, and long-term immigration relief based on the abuse they suffered at the detention center (prior posts). It thus provides detailed instructions on how to: file claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act; request stays of removal from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); file complaints with the U.S Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and apply for U Visas.  

Taking part in this effort at the Georgia Law were Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and 3L Frederick King.

Joining them were the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program, Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild. These and other entities have been collaborating on behalf of the Irwin detainees, including in ongoing litigation in Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. 

Georgia Law clinics’ advocacy helps client secure U.S. citizenship

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Years of advocacy by two clinics at the University of Georgia School of Law recently helped secure U.S. citizenship for a longtime immigrant client.

The earliest work with the client was undertaken by the Jane W. Wilson Family Justice Clinic, as at that time the client was facing severe domestic abuse. Working under the supervision of Clinical Assistant Professor Christine M. Scartz, then-student Eric Abney, a member of the Georgia Law Class of 2020, secured a 12-month family violence protective order and successfully negotiated a resolution that gave the client exclusive possession of the marital residence and a vehicle, sole child custody, and child support.

After the client had gained this measure of safety and stability, the client then was referred to Georgia Law’s Community Health Law Partnership Clinic for further advocacy. Working under the supervision of Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, Amy Buice and Carter A. Thomas, members of the Classes of 2019 and 2020, respectively, used the Violence Against Women Act to ensure the client retained permanent residency without having to rely on her abusive former-partner. Subsequently, 3L Ansley Whiten helped the client file an application for naturalization, while 2L Luis Gomez prepared her for the naturalization interview; both were supervised primarily by Kristen Shepherd, the Community HeLP Clinic’s Staff Attorney.

The client became a U.S. citizen in April 2021, on her birthday.

Georgia Law clinics share in national CLEA Award for work on behalf of immigrant women who endured abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Efforts on behalf of immigrant women detained in a U.S. immigration center have earned national recognition for the Community HeLP Clinic and First Amendment Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Georgia Law clinics will share that recognition – the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project – with law clinics at Harvard, Columbia, Texas A&M, and Boston universities.

The CLEA Award will be presented online 12 noon-1 pm Eastern Friday, April 30, as part of the annual Conference on Clinical Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

The clinics’ project confronted abuse of immigrant women while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin Detention Center, a privately run facility in south Georgia. As previously posted, the women there were subjected to nonconsensual, medically unindicated, or invasive gynecological procedures. Those who spoke out about abuses faced accelerated deportation proceedings, solitary confinement, and other acts of retaliation. The project has pursued several administrative, judicial, and advocacy avenues, including ongoing litigation of Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

The Project’s efforts have resulted in the release of nearly all 80 women in ICDC, as well as over 200 men, and stays of deportation for most of the Oldaker plaintiffs.

Leading the project on behalf of Georgia Law were Jason Cade (above right), Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, and Clare Norins (above left), Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic. Also taking part in this team effort were 3L students Raneem Ashrawi, Frederick King, Julia Griffis, and Anish Patel, 2L students Thomas Evans, Paige Medley, and Davis Wright, First Amendment Clinic Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton, Community HeLP Clinic Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

Other collaborators included non-profits, private firms, legislative advocates, and community organizers.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students ask for asylum and withholding of removal in 11th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit heard arguments this week in an asylum and immigration case prepared by a team of students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic.

Georgia Law 3L Maddie Conkel argued on behalf of the petitioner in Case No. 19-15144, Denis Aguilera Fernandez v. Garland. On account of the Covid-19 pandemic, Conkel’s argument was delivered online to a panel composed of Eleventh Circuit Judges William H. Pryor Jr., Jill A. Pryor, and Ed Carnes (audio here).

In earlier proceedings both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed that the Clinic’s client – whom Cuban police had detained and beaten repeatedly over two years in an effort to prevent him from protesting the Cuban government – was “thoroughly credible.”  They further agreed that his mistreatment, though “severe and regrettable,” did not rise to the level of “persecution,” and that he had no reasonable fear of future persecution.

Conkel’s argument sought reversal of the resulting denials of asylum and withholding of removal. Georgia Law 3L Sarah Nelson helped Conkel prepare for the argument, and several other students helped the Clinic brief the case. 

The Eleventh Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law Associate Dean Cade on US-Mexico migration, enforcement, activism

Two works concerning migration, enforcement, and activism along the Southern border between United States and Mexico have just been published by Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning and Hosch Associate Professor here at the University of Georgia.

In 2020, the migrant death toll exceeded a ten-year high following a summer of record-setting heat, while at the same time, criminal prosecutions of humanitarian activists reached unprecedented levels. Cade has addressed this situation in:

“‘Water is Life!’ (and Speech!): Death, Dissent and Democracy in the Borderlands”, an article published at 96 Indiana Law Journal 261 (2020) (SSRN). Cade explored the communicative conduct of activists such as No More Deaths, whose work along the southern border aims not only to save lives but also to convey the message that all lives—including those of unauthorized migrants—are worth saving. Cade argued that the context around this expressive dissent necessitates First Amendment scrutiny of government attempts to suppress or punish it, and he further explained the broader implications for debate about the ethics of border policies.

“All the Border’s a Stage: Humanitarian Aid as Expressive Dissent”, in 84 Studies in Law, Politics & Society, Special Issue: Law and the Citizen 110 (Austin Sarat ed., 2020). In this related book chapter, Cade examined the conduct of border policy dissenters through the lens of competing narratives, advancing the claim that tolerance of disparate viewpoints—especially those that peacefully challenge the status quo—can be crucial for both the generation of democratic knowledge and coexistence in a diverse society.

Both works comprise part of a larger research project, in which Cade is advancing a framework for more ethical border policies.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students invoke Convention Against Torture in 9th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)

Joining Sigalos on the briefs were his classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic (prior posts), 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year.

Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.

Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Appointed to state’s Supreme Court: Judge Carla Wong McMillian, alumna of Georgia Law and past contributor to this blog, having posted about her Asian-American heritage

Delighted to announce the appointment to the Supreme Court of Georgia of the Honorable Carla Wong McMillian, who has served as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals since 2013. She is a distinguished alumna of the University of Georgia School of Law – and also, we’re proud to note, a past contributor to this blog.

She will replace another Georgia Law alum and in turn be replaced by another Georgia Law alum; respectively, just-retired Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham and Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin, who is based in Macon.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, Carla Wong McMillian earned her Georgia Law J.D. degree summa cum laude in 1998. She becomes the first Asian-American woman in the Southeast to be put on her state’s highest court; additionally, she is first Asian Pacific American state appellate judge ever to be appointed in the Southeast, and the first Asian American person to be elected to a statewide office in Georgia. Her professional service includes a term as President-Elect of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA).

She reflected on these achievements in “My family history & path to the bench,” a 2016 post at this blog, which reprinted an essay she’d written for the Georgia Asian American Times. Available in full here, the essay began:

“I am proud to be an American. I am equally as proud of my Asian American heritage.”

 

Georgia Law Professor Cade presents at Immigration Theory Workshop at University of Houston Law Center

Jason A. Cade, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Community Health Law Partnership Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented on a panel, entitled “Where are We Now? Unpacking Migration’s Present,” at the inaugural interdisciplinary Immigration Theory Workshop: “Imagining Migration After Populism,” held recently at the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas.

Expert in international migration law and policy, Oslo-based Tom Syring, gives talks at Georgia Law

Migration and the rule of law, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, was the topic du jour yesterday at the University of Georgia School of Law, thanks to guest lectures by Tom Syring, Chairman of the Human Rights Research League, based in Oslo, Norway.

As the 2020 American-Scandinavian Foundation Visiting Lecturer, Syring is an expert in international refugee and migration law and policy, and co-editor, with Boston University Law Professor Susan Akram, of Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises (2014). His visit to Georgia Law was part of a 2-month lecture and teaching tour that also includes stops in U.S. locations including Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

Following his public, lunch-hour talk on “Refugees, Forced Migration, and Africa,” Syring met with students in the Refugee & Asylum Law seminar (pictured above) led by Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann.

Together, the talks set forth:

Syring ended on a high note, pointing to the promising potential represented by countries in Africa, a continent rich in resources and a young, vibrant populace.

Cosponsors of the visit, in addition to Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center and the American-Scandinavian Foundation, included two University of Georgia units, the African Studies Institute and the School of Public & International Affairs.

Special thanks are due to all those affiliated with Georgia Law who supported Syring’s visit: Mandy Dixon, Catrina Martin, Brad Grove, Sarah Quinn, Heidi Murphy, and Laura Kagel, as well as Professors Lori Ringhand and Harlan Cohen.

Georgia Law Community HeLP Clinic students aid clients’ citizenship bid

Students in the University of Georgia School of Law Community Health Law Partnership Clinic recently succeeded in assisting 2 clients from Egypt who were seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Working this year to prepare the clients for interviews and their 2019 naturalization ceremony were 3L Amy E. Buice, above center, and 2L William D. Ortiz, above left. Also working on the case were 3L Sarah A. Mirza and Onur Yildirim (JD’18), who last year helped prepare the clients’ naturalization applications.

The students were supervised by Professor Jason A. Cade, Director of Georgia Law’s Community HeLP Clinic, which assists low-income persons with immigration, benefits, and other health-harming legal needs.