In the wake of the presidential election in November and after last week’s executive orders by President Donald Trump restricting immigration, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has been addressing the related legal concerns of Harvard students, faculty, staff, and affected individuals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The clinic is also focusing on policy questions through litigation and legislative advocacy.
Days after the presidential election, over 300 Harvard Law School students, under the guidance of the clinic, quickly organized a coalition to work on projects ranging from support of undocumented members of the Harvard community to local community outreach and legal research, litigation support, and legislative advocacy.
In a letter sent to all HLS alumni and shared with the on-campus community today, Dean Martha Minow reported: “Students in our renowned Immigration and Refugee Clinic are working hard to assist hundreds of individuals who have been caught off guard by the executive orders restricting immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations. They are representing asylum seekers and other individuals applying for humanitarian protection, including individuals in detention and in removal proceedings. They are engaged in research and advocacy on refugee resettlement, including the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project; research, litigation, and advocacy on sanctuary spaces and state and local enforcement measures at the intersection of criminal law and immigration law; and international collaboration, litigation, and advocacy relating to the Safe Third Country Agreement with Canada and other issues. They are also helping the sons and daughters — born in the U.S. — of undocumented parents who came to this country years ago, assisting through litigation, advocacy, and outreach to communities of people seeking to understand their rights in this rapidly changing legal terrain.”