Collaboration Between Attorneys and Law Students Benefits Both Parties

Members of the Hispanic Law Students Association mingle with local Hispanic Attorneys at an event in Milwaukee.As President of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association (WHLA), I have had the opportunity to help foment various partnerships in the legal community. One of the most recent and fruitful of these is our collaboration with the Hispanic Law Student Association (HLSA) at Marquette Law School. While our collaboration began informally, we have recently created a student liaison position on our Board of Directors. Currently, 2L Alex Castro is serving in that capacity. This closer communication with Alex has lead to a number of interesting events.

On October 13, 2016 our associations brought Consul Julian Adem of the brand new Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee to the law school. Mr. Adem presented on the array of functions and services of the Consulate, from providing documents, community education, and legal advice to Mexican nationals, to offering visa services for non-Mexicans who want to travel to Mexico. There was a strong turnout of both students and local attorneys. The information will, without a doubt, help a number of clients and can be shared with the wider networks of those who attended.

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A Campaign of Fear Towards Immigrants

Nineteenth Century US political cartoon of Uncle Sam kicking out the Chinese, refering to the Chinese exclusion act.The question I am asked over and over lately: “how do I get temporary guardianship for my children in case I am detained and deported?” The fact that I hear this question, or some similar form of it, so frequently in recent weeks is indicative of the level of fear in the immigrant community. This fear is a direct result of the new policies of our President, his executive orders, the follow up memoranda from Homeland Security, and the waves of “targeted enforcement” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that have been unleashed nationwide.

Let’s be clear, ICE has been carrying out its daily work of initiating deportation proceedings long before this presidency. That has not changed. ICE currently has the same number of officers and the same amount of resources. There is no “deportation force” over and above what we already had – at least not yet. However, the tone and tactics being used have clearly changed. Virtually any undocumented immigrant is now a priority for removal, regardless of whether they have a criminal record. Media recently reported that ICE detained a domestic abuse victim in El Paso, Texas after going to court to file a restraining order. ICE also detained a young Dreamer from Argentina in Jackson, Mississippi just after leaving a press conference where she spoke out against these changes. People hear reports of these high-profile cases and wonder if they will be next.

It is the beginning of a campaign of fear directed towards not only the undocumented, but immigrants in general. Fear feeds rumors, which can turn fear into panic. This is the first step. Order a travel ban for Muslim-majority countries in the name of protecting us from terrorists. Call for more deportations of undocumented immigrants while labeling them as criminals. This scares immigrants, but also creates fear of the “other” among the wider general population. Is this the America we want to be?

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