Spring 2018

Students, faculty, and alumni provide free legal screenings

In response to tougher U.S. immigration policies—including threats to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the ban on immigrants from some countries with majority Muslim populations—the Law School recently formed a new group called Imm.BLAST (Brooklyn Law Alumni, Students, and Teachers for Immigration). Led by Professor Maryellen Fullerton, an expert on asylum and refugee law, and Professor Stacy Caplow, an expert in immigration law who codirects the Safe Harbor Project, Imm.BLAST participated in several important initiatives.

“I am so proud of the many Brooklyn Law School alumni and students who are harnessing their knowledge and energy to help vulnerable immigrant communities,” says Fullerton. “They are keeping the Brooklyn Law School tradition alive.”

Maryann Tharappel ’11, special projects director in the immigrant and refugee services division for Catholic Charities, spearheaded a notable partnership with the Law School this fall. She helped connect a group of Law School students, faculty, and alumni with legal clinics in Putnam and Westchester counties, where they provided free legal screenings for immigrants.

“The need for our immigrant brothers and sisters in New York to access high-quality legal services has never been greater,” says Tharappel. “By marrying volunteers with experienced immigration attorneys through scalable programming, we are bridging a gap in access to justice for this vulnerable population.”

Caplow was heartened by the strong response from students, staff, and fellow faculty members to the call for volunteers.

“This shows how much our community is eager to devote their time and skills to helping immigrants navigate the treacherous waters of today’s fast-changing, life-altering immigration policies,” she says.