TU Law Students Have Chance To Help Children At Fort Sill
TULSA, Oklahoma - Law students at the University of Tulsa have a unique opportunity to represent immigrant children being held at Fort Sill. Right now law professors and Catholic Charities are working with the federal government to provide legal representation for more than 1,000 children.
Eight students and four lawyers from the University of Tulsa will participate in a semester-long program to be the legal representatives for the children and they're doing it for free.
“People who can't afford to pay, at this point their only recourse are pro bono attorneys and that's why our role is so important," said Elizabeth McCormick.
McCormick is the Director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the University of Tulsa's College of Law. Each semester, her students get hands-on experience representing immigrants.
This August, second and third-year students enrolled in her class will be working to represent more than 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children currently being housed at Fort Sill.
“The students aren't even here yet and we are working to try to setup a mechanism for my students and other volunteers who are out there and there are lots of them too," McCormick said.
She is coordinating with Catholic Charities, which announced two weeks ago the need for skilled volunteers to help immigrant children with legal services.
“There's no way of knowing what any individual child will be eligible for until we meet with that individual child and find out what their circumstances are," McCormick said.
McCormick said students may make trips to Fort Sill or do work behind the scenes from the law school in Tulsa. She said the program is all about giving her students exposure to working with real clients on immigration issues.
“A surprising number of them by the end of the semester actually decide that they like immigration work and they want to continue doing it, and I have a number of former students who have graduated who are now practicing immigration law," McCormick said.
Class starts in about a month.
Catholic Charities is also looking for translators, caseworkers, administrative assistants and writers to volunteer their time to help process the children.