DU Expands Crimmigration Work
A gift to the law school funds its new immigration-focused clinic and event seri

by Tony Flesor

With a new gift, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will expand its clinical work in crimmigration.

The school on Tuesday announced that it received a $414,000 grant from The Gateway Fund II of The Denver Foundation and a $25,000 grant from The Denver Foundation’s Immigrant Legal Services Fund. The money will fund the school’s new Immigration Justice Project, which will consist of an immigration law and policy clinic, a crimmigration law and policy event series and a postgraduate public interest fellowship at the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.

“As the founder of the American clinical legal education movement, the Sturm College of Law has been dedicated to advancing access to justice in the communities we serve for more than a century,” said Sturm College of Law Dean Bruce Smith. “Thanks to the generous commitment of both funds of The Denver Foundation, our faculty and students are in an unparalleled position to impact immigration law and policy in a significant and beneficial way.”

Professor Chris Lasch, who will lead the clinic with professor Robin Walker Sterling, said the clinic’s inaugural cohort of 14 students, who started their work in August, have already met with clients at a federal detention center in Aurora, argued on multiple occasions in court and succeeded in all of its cases to date — which included a federal habeas corpus action in order to obtain clients’ release.

“We are in a community that has distinguished advocates and a powerful nonprofit presence in the immigration area, but there is still much work that can be done,” Lasch said.

The gift was announced in conjunction with the latest crimmigration law and policy panel discussion, led by Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández. The discussion focused on the use of detainers, their legality and some litigation in Colorado challenging their use.

Detainers have recently been used to hold immigrant criminal detainees at the federal government’s request in order to begin immigration proceedings. University of Idaho Professor Kate Evans discussed the legal history of similar procedures of holding people without warrants or charges for civil proceedings dating back hundreds of years through English common law.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the April 22, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.