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Rutgers Law first in New Jersey to offer immigration certificate program

The Immigrant Justice Clinic at Rutgers University—Camden is directed by Joanne Gottesman. – Photo by Photo by | The Daily Targum

Rutgers Law School is now offering a Certificate for Immigration Law, making it the first law school in New Jersey to carry this program, according to an article on Rutgers Today.

This program will let employees know that law students have gained knowledge on immigration issues prior to graduating from law school, according to the article.

Joanne Gottesman, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic and the clinical programs at Rutgers University—Camden, and Anju Gupta, the director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic in Newark, will oversee the certificate program, according to the article.

“Here at Rutgers, we have so many students interested in immigration law, and those students have devoted a significant amount of time, energy and credits toward taking immigration-related courses and honing their skills in this area,” Gupta said, according to the article. “We wanted to recognize the dedication and commitment of those students.”

This program will offer students the opportunity to take seminars on immigration law theory and practice-oriented classes, according to the article. 

It will also be working with faculty members who have expertise in various immigration issues, such as refugee law and citizenship. 

Students at Rutgers Law School are already able to be a part of two immigration clinics that serve both the larger community and student organizations, according to the article. This includes the Immigrant Rights Collective in Newark and the Immigration Law Society in Camden.

The certificate program also offers students the chance for outside opportunities, including a spring break trip to Mexico where they will assist asylum seekers stuck at the border, according to the article.

Rose Cuison-Villazor, vice dean of Rutgers Law School in Camden, founded the Rutgers Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice, according to the article. This center allows for the exploration of both contemporary and historical immigration laws.

The State of New Jersey and Essex County recently gave a grant to the Immigrant Rights Clinic of Newark to represent immigrants detained in New Jersey, according to the article. This grant provided the clinic a chance to hire two staff attorneys and a paralegal to augment its existing attorney.

Gottesman and Gupta, along with Randi Mandelbaum, the director of the Child Advocacy Clinic in Newark, supervise the Rutgers Immigrant Community Assistance Project, according to the article. 

Gottesman and Mandelbaum also created a statewide project which aims to give representation to immigrant children in foster care through a contract with the Department of Children and Families.

Gottesman said upon completion of the certificate program, students will have a foundation in the theory and practice of immigration law, according to the article. The certificate shows employers that students have taken courses in immigration law, as well as having assisted in representing immigrant clients.

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