preLaw - Spring 2017 - 30
YALE LAW SCHOOL'S Worker and Immigrant Rights
Advocacy Clinic assisted in filing the first lawsuit after
President Trump's executive order banning travel
from seven countries. It was on behalf of an Iraqi
man at risk of being deported.
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BY KATIE THISDELL
Within hours of President Trump's executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., hundreds of attorneys around
the country rushed to airports to help families of travelers who were being held and
threatened with deportation.
Students and faculty at Yale Law
School's Worker and Immigrant Rights
Advocacy Clinic also got to work.
Working in partnership with a coalition
of leading civil rights' groups, including the
International Refugee Assistance Project
(IRAP), the school's 30-person clinic team
helped file the first legal challenge to the
Trump administration on behalf of two
Iraqi refugees detained at John F. Kennedy
International Airport. The next day, a federal judge issued a nationwide temporary
stay, after a lawyer from the American Civil
Liberties Union argued for it at an emergency hearing. The team - which included many former students at the clinic -
had worked around the clock, and also
created a template for other lawyers to use.
"It was amazing - everyone swung into
action and we were up all night drafting
it," Becca Heller, a Yale graduate and cofounder of IRAP, told The New York Times.
Immigration clinics at schools around
the country joined similar efforts, allowing students to get on-the-job training.
Universities also called on their law schools
to aid the students, faculty and staff who
are at risk of deportation. For example,
New York University launched the NYU
Immigrant Defense Initiative, coordinated
by the law school's Immigration Rights
Clinic; immigration clinics at Harvard
Law School and Stanford Law School held
town halls for their university communities; participants in American University's
Immigrant Justice Clinic warned clients of
new risks, protested at the White House
and offered services at airports.
Such efforts are not only helping immigrants; they're also helping law students
be better prepared for employment upon
Yale has done its part by expanding its
clinical offerings in recent years - now
80 percent of its law students take part