Women and Immigration (FIELDWORK PRACTICUM)
Lisa Johnson-Firth and
J.D. Practicum 1075
| 4 credit hours
In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and conduct related fieldwork at outside organizations. This fieldwork practicum course will focus on government protection for women fleeing gender-based persecution and abuse. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of fieldwork for private law firms and nonprofit agencies located in the D.C. metro area that are representing women fleeing their countries because of gender-related violence.
SEMINAR: In the two-credit, graded, seminar portion of the practicum, students will discuss how shifting migration patterns and societal forces have caused more women to leave their home countries and attempt to enter the United States. While a woman may flee her home country for the same reasons as a man, research shows that refugee women also flee their countries for gender-related reasons. In many countries, women face persecution and violence just for being women. This includes the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, so-called honor crimes, forced marriage, widow rituals, one child policies, forced sterilization policies, and female genital mutilation. In seminar, students will study and learn through experience about the societal forces causing the forced migration of women and how U.S. laws and policies address the immigration status of these female immigrants. We will focus on forms of relief that, while available to both men and women, are almost exclusively accessed by women to obtain legal status in the United States. Specifically, we will focus on: Asylum (specifically the gender-based prong of “membership in a particular social group”), the Violence against Women Act (for abused women who are or were married to U.S. citizens), U Visas (for victims of crime), and T Visas (for victims of trafficking).
FIELDWORK: In the two-credit, mandatory pass/fail, fieldwork portion of the practicum, students will work with lawyers from private law firms and nonprofit agencies on actual cases of women fleeing their countries because of gender-based violence. Students will be assigned in teams to interview clients, prepare research and briefs, and assist the principal lawyer conducting the case. Students will also work directly with attorneys at local legal services agencies who are representing female survivors of gender-based harm seeking legal status in the United States.
Prerequisites: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or a clinic or another practicum course.
LL.M students may enroll in this course, space permitting, provided they have excellent U.S.-based legal research skills, English language, and writing ability. Interested LL.M. students should email Louis Fine (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request admission.
This course is suitable for evening students who can commit to working 10 hours/week (during business hours) for private law firms and nonprofit agencies.
Students are responsible for organizing their own transportation to meet clients in the D.C. metro area, which includes clients in Virginia.
PLEASE NOTE: there will be two class sessions in the first week – one at the regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting time and the second on Wednesday from 3:30-5:30. FIRST AND SECOND CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the first and second class sessions in order to be eligible for a seat in the class. Due to the case and team structure of this practicum, students may only drop this class up until the time the Wednesday class session meets. After that time, students will only be permitted to drop the class with permission of the Professor and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education AND only when remaining in the practicum course would cause significant hardship to the student.
This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits for approximately 10 hours of fieldwork per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The two-credit seminar portion will be graded. The two credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as this practicum.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. A student wishing to withdraw from the course will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.
Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.
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(CRN #: 23873)
||Johnson-Firth, Lisa T. /
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