State College extends agreement with Penn State Law Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

May 11, 2021

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – On Monday, May 10, students from the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC) updated the Borough Council on the extension of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CIRC and the borough of State College and announced the launch of a new webpage with community resources for immigrant residents to be housed on the borough’s website.

Pursuant to an MOU in place since 2015, CIRC has assisted the borough with composing resolutions and recommendations for policies relating to immigration at the local level and engaging the community. CIRC has also provided education and training for employees of the municipality about immigration law, policy and rights; and partnered on initiatives to ensure the community has access to accurate information and legal resources about immigration. You can learn more about the history of this work here. The new MOU is set for an initial duration of three years and will automatically renew for successive three-year terms unless terminated by any party.

“For the last six years, our partnership has included organizing a “Welcoming Week” event each year; policy training for police officers; policy setting for the State College Police Department, all of which has improved inclusion and education in our community on immigration law, policy, and equity. This resource page is no exception,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, clinical professor of law, and founding director of the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic.

Students this past semester have worked with borough communications and community engagement staff to develop a webpage with resources for refugee and immigrant residents to assist them in making State College their home.

“One of my favorite parts of this year was being part of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law that gave me the opportunity to work closely with the State College Borough. Working together on a living project was not only an enriching experience to me as a law student, but also very beneficial as I am an immigrant myself coming from Tunisia and an international student studying and living at State College,” said Imen Neffeti, Penn State Law Clinic student.

This webpage includes area resources and information about local organizations in a wide range of topic areas including health and medical services, public safety, housing, food, legal services, financial support/counseling, and student language support.

“This has been an incredibly rewarding experience to partner with the State College municipality to develop this resource page for immigrant residents. Working on this project, has allowed me to engage more closely locally and contribute to making our community a more welcoming place for all. On a broader scale, this project also allowed me to think critically about the challenges faced by many immigrants trying to integrate into any community. Working on this project has inspired me to continue working in immigration law and educate our community,” said Aleah Loll, Penn State Law Clinic student.

This webpage will be updated throughout the year in consultation with the CIRC. Staff is always working to improve this page and the list of resources. For assistance, direct any questions to the Office of Community Engagement at engage@statecollegepa.us.

“The Borough of State College continues to value equity and inclusion in our community. I am grateful for the students and the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic for their continued collaboration in making State College a welcoming community. I am excited to officially extend this working relationship with the clinic. I hope that all of our residents, potential residents, and visitors find the webpage meaningful and helpful. Thank you to everyone who helped put this project together,” said Thomas J. Fountaine, State College borough manager.

The community resources webpage is available at https://www.statecollegepa.us/715/Community-Resources-Serving-Immigrant-Re.

For more information, contact Douglas Shontz by phone at 814-278-4723 or by email at dshontz@statecollegepa.us.

Last Updated May 11, 2021