The West Virginia University Immigration Law Clinic has served scores of clients throughout the West Virginia and western Pennsylvania region since 1996. The clinic serves foreign citizens who are facing deportation, seeking asylum, and other immigration proceedings.
The Clinic has won political asylum for clients from Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Guinea, often pushing the law creatively in circumstances related to today’s most pressing issues, such as gender persecution, social turmoil during democratic transition, and conflict in the Middle East.
The West Virginia University Immigration Law Clinic has introduced students to service learning in a growing area of the law. In fact, they are often the only source of help in a field where the government severely restricts legal assistance to those who cannot afford to pay.
Professor Jim Friedberg founded that project at the urging of his international law and human rights students as a volunteer pro bono undertaking. The next year, he turned the project into a clinical course, as a follow-on to his immigration law lecture.
Almost from its inception, nationally known immigration attorney Robert S. Whitehill, a partner at Fox Rothschild law firm in Pittsburgh, has helped lead the clinic.
Co-curricular activities related to the clinic have included such prominent immigration specialists as former INS General Counsel Paul Virtue, Georgetown law professor Philip Schrag, and internationally known author and practitioner Ira Kurzban.
Students argue against DOJ
Students argued a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Their client was a Honduran man threatened with deportation based on what the government argued was a “particularly serious crime.” They won a partial victory when the judge remanded the case back to the Bureau of Immigration Appeals.