- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A new center at the University of Minnesota’s Law School aims to help immigrants facing legal battles stay in the country.

The Center for New Americans opened this fall after it received funding from the Robina Foundation to support legal services for immigrant communities across the nation. The center teams up with local nonprofits and law firms to influence immigration reform and serve clients at no cost, director Benjamin Casper said.

Casper told The Minnesota Daily (https://bit.ly/1E0U6Tj ) that the center focuses on helping immigrants who face deportation, language barrier and little to no knowledge of the legal system. The program also provides firsthand learning experiences to the participating students.

“The resources here give the law school an opportunity to make an impact on the students and, in turn, the immigrants they serve,” Casper said.

Thirty students within the center’s three clinics - the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic, the Detainee Rights Clinic and the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic - are able to gain hands-on experience when they work with real clients and cases. The clinics operate like a law firm of student lawyers, Casper said. The students write briefs and argue their cases in court.

Students and law professors began working on cases this summer, before the center was officially open. The group was able to successfully petition so a deportation case will be heard by the Supreme Court.

Minneapolis is the perfect place for the center because of the state’s large population of refugees and history of pro bono work, according to Casper.

“The impact of creating an ethic of public service . in a community this size will really reinforce the strong culture of pro bono service,” he said.

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Information from: The Minnesota Daily, https://www.mndaily.com/


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