Law students to bring immigration rights expertise to detention facility

Cara Stafford
December 04, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Penn State Law professor, along with students from the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic will begin a series of educational group rights presentations at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in McElhattan for non-citizens who are currently in immigration custody. The clinic gained approval for these presentations after submitting a proposal to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in accordance with ICE’s 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards.   

The Clinton County Correctional Facility is one of several facilities in Pennsylvania where ICE temporarily houses non-citizen detainees awaiting immigration proceedings. The mission of the clinic’s project is to inform the detainees about the deportation process and possible immigration remedies. To accomplish that, the presentation will include information relating to detainee rights and forms of immigration relief as well as a question and answer session. 

This project was developed by research fellow Doyinsola Aribo, Class of 2014, under the supervision of Wadhia.

“Oftentimes, immigration detainees are deported without seeing a lawyer or judge,” said Aribo. “The group legal presentation is an opportunity to provide the detainees in Clinton County with some clarity and understanding about their detention and legal situation.”

Aribo stated that some main focuses of the lecture portion of the presentation are to impress upon the detainees to remain as honest as possible, to refrain from signing any documents they do not understand and to express themselves if they have a fear of returning to their nation of origin.

Professor Shoba Wadhia is a nationally recognized scholar of immigration law whose research focuses on the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. Wadhia recently penned a letter in support of President Barack Obama’s executive action. She has also worked on other local immigration projects, such a panel discussion to address and discuss the State College immigration raid from the summer of 2014. The first group rights presentation will occur in mid-December.

Last Updated July 22, 2015