December 14, 2018
Recently, the admission team sat down with students, faculty, and staff to learn more about Harvard’s Immigration and Refugee Program.
There are two clinics in the program: Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) and Crimmigation. In addition to their work with clinical students at HLS, HIRC faculty guide the HLS Immigration Project (HIP), a student-practice organization that represents clients seeking release from detention, refugees, and asylees. HIRC also houses the Harvard Representation Initiative, which provides legal representation and social service support to undocumented and DACAmented members of the Harvard community.
There are ways to get involved in immigration and refugee advocacy, even if you are not a clinical student. For example, HLS students volunteer as translators with the clinic, or you can begin working with HIP from 1L year onward (all of our eleven student-practice organizations are open to first-year students).
Another recent example: this past August, four HLS students traveled to the border with HIRC attorneys. They worked at the Karnes Detention Center, volunteering with RAICES, an organization that offers immigration legal services in Central and South Texas.
The students who went on this trip put together an excellent blog post reflecting on the experience. I encourage you to read their thoughts about witnessing the impact of forced separation on children, parents, immigration judges, and advocates.
Cindy Zapata, a clinical instructor at HLS, also wrote a blog post about her time at Karnes.
Students at HLS will travel back to Texas this spring to provide representation to asylum seekers at the Pearsall Detention Center through a pro bono partnership with American Gateways. To learn more about this effort and other pro bono initiatives over the spring break, check out the Spring Pro Bono Trips website.
I recommend you follow HIRC’s blog to learn more about their work, and follow @HLS_Immigration on Twitter. If you are interested in learning more about the Crimmigration clinic, definitely check out their website. You can also keep up with the Crimmigration clinic on Facebook and Twitter (@CrimmHLS).