Spring 2017

New beginnings

A new U.S. citizen celebrates at a naturalization ceremony held at the U of M Law School.

Kelley Keefer, ’17, will never forget the day she and other members of the U of M Law School’s Detainee Rights Clinic finally succeeded in getting lawful immigration status for a client who had been detained for five months. “Watching him reunite with his family will go down as one of the most memorable moments of my law school career,” says Keefer, student director of the clinic.

The Detainee Rights Clinic is one of three clinics within the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, which recently received a $25 million gift from the Robina Foundation. The largest gift in the Law School’s history, it will fund the newly named center, establish the James H. Binger Professorship in Clinical Law, and provide student scholarship support.

Since the center was founded in 2013 with a $4.5 million gift from the Robina Foundation, it has provided immigrants and refugees with pro bono legal services—and given U of M law students valuable real-world experience. Students and faculty at the center have won a landmark case at the U.S. Supreme Court, secured political asylum for clients from around the world, and won release for detained immigrants in Minnesota.

“The center has proven itself to be a vital part of our community and a highly influential entity at a time when immigration is at the center of the national conversation,” says Kathleen Blatz, ’78 M.S.W., ’84 J.D., chair of the Robina Foundation.