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Maria Woltjen : Courses and Seminars

Young Center Immigrant Child Advocacy Clinic
LAWS 90211
(A, SKLL)The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights Clinic combines international human rights law, immigration law and children's rights law. Students in the clinic are appointed by the federal government as Child Advocate (similar to a guardian ad litem) for unaccompanied immigrant children detained in Chicago. Unaccompanied immigrant children come to the U.S. from all corners of the world, on their own. They are apprehended—typically at the U.S./Mexico border—then detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Direct Client Service: Pursuant to federal law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Young Center is appointed as Child Advocate for the most vulnerable of these children (tender age children, children with mental or physical disabilities, children who have experienced extensive trauma, etc.). Law students serve as Child Advocate for individual children, and are responsible for advocating for the best interests of the assigned child on issues relating to safe repatriation, legal relief, care, custody and release. Each student meets weekly with the child at the detention facility, and advocates on behalf of the child with federal officials, including immigration judges and asylum officers, under the supervision of Young Center attorneys. Since there currently is no substantive best interests of the child standard under the Immigration and Nationality Act, students look to international human rights law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, state child welfare law, and the child protection laws of the child’s home country. Policy Advocacy: In addition to serving as Child Advocate, clinic students have the opportunity to engage in legislative and policy advocacy aimed at improving the immigration system for children in removal proceedings. This is an especially critical time since the government projects 70,000 children will arrive at the border this year. Young Center students will do policy advocacy aimed at reforming procedural and substantive legal protections, including the appointment of counsel for immigrant children and incorporation of a substantive best interests of the child standard in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Students must enroll in the Autumn quarter and participate in a 2-day orientation on Oct 1st and 2nd (Saturday and Sunday). The Young Center Clinic admits both second-year and third-year law students. Language skills are not required, but students who speak Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi or Urdu are strongly encouraged to apply.
Autumn 2016
Maria Woltjen, Jajah Wu, Marcy Phillips, Kelly Albinak Kribs