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 regional office of the IRC in Charlottesville each year helps approximately 150 refugees, selected overseas as part of the U.S. refugee admissions program, to resettle in Central Virginia. Refugees have come from Burma, Colombia, Somalia, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia, Iran, Iraq and many other countries. After one year in the United States, they are eligible for full permanent resident (green card) status, but must 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 conjuction with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, law student volunteers are trained and then accompany CAIR Coalition attorneys to several local jails around Virginia housing hundreds of immigrant detainees. Following know-your-rights presentations, volunteers interview the immigrants to identify key issues that can reveal if they have any legal basis to fight deportation. CAIR follows up and tries to find pro bono counsel for those with legitimate claims to status who lack the resources to fund their own defense.