Service-Learning Program: Arizona/Mexico and Texas
For the past three years, a group of third and fourth-year students at UDC-DCSL participated in an alternative Spring Break immersion trip to study immigration law and policy on the United States-Mexico border. Originally conceived in 2006 by Professor Susan Waysdorf, Professor Laurie Morin, and the late Professor William McLain as a seminar and practicum to address legal and social issues in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the course has evolved over the years to include service trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta region, and Nogales, AZ/Nogales, Sonora, MX. This year, in June 2015, the course was expanded even further when a group of students and professors travelled to Karnes City, Texas (outside San Antonio) to provide pro bono legal services to some of the 400 women and children asylum seekers from Central America currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while they are awaiting their hearings in front of an Immigration Judge.
The six students who participated in the service-learning course in Karnes City, Texas this summer represented two detained women and their children in their bond redetermination hearings in San Antonio Immigration Court. Because of their diligent work preparing and serving the bond applications prior to the hearings, the government agreed to reduce the clients’ bonds from $7,500 each to $3,000 and $3,500, respectively (minimum bond in immigration court is $1,500). The clients were able to secure the funds necessary for their bond, and were released from ICE custody several days later to reside with their sponsors in the United States. The UDC-DCSL faculty who participated in the service-learning trip to Karnes City were Immigration and Human Rights Clinic Director Professor Kristina Campbell, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Professor Laurie Morin, and Clinical Instructor/LL.M Fellow in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic Johan Fatemi.