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Immigration Project Offers Immersion in Advocacy During Spring Break

March 13, 2013

Five students spent their spring break March 11-15 immersing themselves in the world of immigration law.

Led by alums Ted Oswald, Class of 2010, and Lauren Katz Smith, Class of 2009, the law school’s new Immigration Project is giving the students a firsthand look at immigration law from diverse perspectives.

Students Maeng Gao, Olivia Kowey, Alisha Lubin, Lauren Runza and Brian Shotts are providing intake services to immigrants, meeting with attorneys from public-interest law organizations that handle immigration cases, attending hearings in Philadelphia Immigration Court and leading a seminar for immigrants on a new program that protects some undocumented youth from deportation. Oswald, currently an attorney with Christian Legal Clinics, is supervising the students’ clinical work, along with alumnus Daniel Colbert, Class of 2010, who is a fellow with the organization.

Along the way, advocates from organizations including New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, Juntos, HIAS-PA and Nationalities Service Center, are briefing the students on the day-to-day issues that face immigrants and the attorneys who represent them.

After full days of interviewing and observation, the students are staying at the Aquinas Center, a former convent now used as a community center. The students are sharing many meals at immigrant-owned restaurants, having lunch with Immigration Court Judge Steven Morley -- a member of the law school's adjunct faculty -- and blogging about their experiences.