Community Service and Pro Bono Projects
Outside of the classroom, the Immigration Law Program provides students with numerous hands-on learning experiences.
Hunton & Williams Pro Bono Partnership
In 2004, the Law School developed a pro bono partnership with the Richmond-based law firm Hunton & Williams. The firm's attorneys work pro bono with the assistance of student volunteers to represent indigent clients in the areas of immigration, asylum and family law. Related Story
The Migrant Farmworker Project (MFP)
Run by the student group the Latin American Law Organization, the Migrant Farmworker Project works with the Legal Aid Justice Center's Immigrant Advocacy Program to assist an isolated population often in need of legal counsel. The program represents immigrants and farmworkers throughout the state. Although the center handles mostly employment law cases, it also takes housing and discrimination cases. Student members of the Migrant Farmworker Project visit migrant farm labor camps and inform workers about their rights. The project also seeks to increase awareness about the substandard treatment of immigrant workers and conditions in which they live and work in Virginia. Students do not need to speak Spanish to participate.
International Rescue Committee Refugee Assistance Opportunities
The International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville each year helps approximately 200 refugees, selected overseas as part of the U.S. refugee admissions program, to resettle in the U.S. Since opening in 1998, the IRC has resettled more than 2,500 refugees from 31 countries in Central Virginia. Recent arrivals include refugees from Burma, Bhutan, Iraq, Colombia, Afghanistan, and D.R. Congo, among others. After one year in the United States, they are eligible for legal permanent resident (green card) status, but must first complete a potentially daunting set of forms and records. For many years, Virginia Law students have partnered with the IRC to assist with this process and have also assumed other volunteer roles with the organization.
Immigrant Jail Outreach Project
In conjunction with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, law student volunteers are trained to help CAIR Coalition attorneys in their work at local jails in Virginia housing hundreds of immigrant detainees. Students may assist in know-your-rights presentations, interview detainees to screen for those who may have claims to immigration status, and conduct initial case development with follow-up interviews and legal research. CAIR then attempts to place cases in their pro bono network or refers to outside counsel those with legitimate claims to status who lack the resources to fund their own defense.