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Immigration Law Clinic receives more than $1.3 million

News Posted on August 1, 2019

By Carla Meyer

Three nonprofit organizations have given UC Davis School more than $1.3 million to help fund additional staff attorneys and further serve immigrants through its Immigration Law Clinic.

Together Rising donated $900,000 it generated through a highly successful crowdfunding effort. The James Irvine Foundation granted $250,000 to the clinic as part of a larger campaign to assist immigrant families and communities. NextGen Policy Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit established by philanthropist and 2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer, gave $175,000 to fund a staff attorney and provide additional support.

The gifts followed a national controversy over reports of inhumane conditions at Border Patrol facilities where migrant children are detained.

“UC Davis School of Law greatly appreciates the support and confidence of Together Rising, the  James Irvine Foundation and NextGen,” said Kevin R. Johnson, dean of UC Davis School of Law. “Our amazing Immigration Law Clinic will have much-needed resources to provide legal assistance to immigrants in dire circumstances.”

The Together Rising gift will fund two Immigration Law Clinic legal fellows for three years. The Irvine Foundation grant will support the overarching work of the clinic, including efforts by lecturer Holly S. Cooper ’98 and clinic fellows and students to ensure compliance with the Flores settlement, the 1997 agreement that established basic standards for the treatment of juvenile migrant detainees. Cooper is an attorney on the Flores case.

She, along with lecturer Amagda Pérez ’91, directs the Immigration Law Clinic. UC Davis Law students, under the supervision of attorneys and fellows, provide legal assistance to immigrants in need.

The gifts will “allow the clinic and the law school to significantly increase monitoring, oversight and support of migrant children in detention,” said Karen Charney, executive director of development and alumni relations for UC Davis School of Law.

Reports emerged in June of inadequate food, water and sanitation at a Clint, Texas detention facility. Cooper, part of a team assessing conditions there, told the Associated Press that “in my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”

Together Rising’s subsequent crowdfunding effort sought $240,000 to fund an Immigration Law Clinic fellow for two years. The response far exceeded that, with donations reaching nearly $1.2 million within 24 hours, and more than $2.6 million after seven days. (The remaining funds will go to other entities working on behalf of detained children).

With its gift to the clinic, the group aims to help the Immigration Law Clinic “expand the reach and impact of the life-saving work they have already been doing. … (and) help make meaningful change for these detained children,” Together Rising program manager Gloria Goeres wrote via email.

The NextGen gift will fund an Immigration Law Clinic staff attorney for one year to assist with the representation of immigrant youth in removal proceedings, and with community outreach and education and family-preparedness workshops.

NextGen previously funded an Immigration Law Clinic staff attorney in 2017.