Center for New Americans
The University of Minnesota Law School’s Center for New Americans expands urgently needed legal services for noncitizens, pursues litigation to improve our nation’s immigration laws, and supports noncitizens in the region through education and community outreach.
Designed in partnership with leading area law firms and non-profit immigration legal services, the Center is the only program of its kind in the U.S. and is home to three dynamic clinics and an integrated education and outreach program that offer students hands-on educational experiences:
- Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic: improves and transforms U.S. immigration law through collaborative impact litigation in the federal courts.
- Detainee Rights Clinic: defends the rights of indigent noncitizens incarcerated by the Department of Homeland Security.
- Immigration and Human Rights Clinic: represents asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries.
- Education and Outreach: educates noncitizens about their legal rights and trains lawyers to provide high quality pro bono legal services.
The Center for New Americans successfully litigated Mellouli v. Holder before the United States Supreme Court, which ruled a legal permanent resident of the United States may not be deported for a drug conviction unless that conviction is necessarily tied to a drug covered by the federal Controlled Substances Act. The litigation team consisted of faculty and students from the Law School’s Center for New Americans; pro bono lawyers from the firm of Faegre Baker Daniels; and attorneys from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.
“Without a doubt this was the highlight of my legal education. Working as part of a team of immigration experts and appellate litigators to provide our client the very highest level of advocacy is an experience I simply could not have had anywhere else.”
Julia Decker (’14), Teaching Fellow, Center for New Americans
“As an Equal Justice Works Fellowship at Americans for Immigrant Justice, I will represent asylum seekers detained at the Broward Transitional Center. I also will conduct presentations to explain removal proceedings, as well as monitor and collaborate with other organizations to improve detention conditions. My experience with the Center for New Americans prepared me in every respect to do this work.”
Andrea Crumrine (’16), Equal Justice Works Fellow, Americans for Immigrant Justice
“My work with the Detainee Rights Clinic has undoubtedly been the most impactful and formative of my budding legal career. Seeking and achieving justice for vulnerable, deserving clients cemented my decision to pursue a career as a litigator. In my new position in the Intellectual Property Litigation group at Robins Kaplan, I will continue to draw upon the lessons I learned from the top-notch CNA professors and staff.”
Rajin Olson (’16), Associate, Robins Kaplan LLP, Minneapolis, MN
Pe Goromou, from Guinea, was granted asylum after the Center for New Americans and its partners appealed his case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I had a deportation order on my head, but look at me today! My dream is to become a citizen of this country.”
Pe Goromou, Center for New Americans client
“The CNA has been instrumental in my legal education and growth as a lawyer. Working with the Detainee Rights Clinic helped me find my passion in representing detained immigrants and provided me with the necessary skills to find a job in detainee representation after school. I will be able to pursue my passion with confidence because of the skills and experience I gained from the CNA.”
Brent Johnson (’16), Staff Attorney, The Florence Project, Florence, AZ