ATLANTA— Emily Torstveit Ngara, former director at the Deportation Defense Clinic at Hofstra University, will lead the new Immigration Law Clinic at Georgia State University College of Law.
The clinic will start taking clients in January 2020.
“Immigration law is special to me,” Ngara said. “My clients and interactions with them inspired me to dedicate my life to this cause. I believe we save lives in immigration clinics.”
The Georgia State Law Immigration Clinic is funded through a two-year, $300,000 Kresge Foundation grant and will serve immigrants facing deportation throughout Georgia. There is a backlog of 31,000 cases in the state, nearly all in the Atlanta area, according to TRAC, a nonpartisan data research organization at Syracuse University.
“Emily Torstveit Ngara brings the perfect blend of experience and enthusiasm to the position,” said Lisa Bliss, associate dean of experiential education and clinical programs and co-director of the Health Law Partnership Legal Services Clinic. “Her background in teaching and developing immigration clinics and her passion for the work make her the ideal director to start a new immigration clinic at Georgia State Law.”
Ngara and another supervising attorney will teach students how to represent clients in a variety of immigration matters. The clinic will focus on removal defense and assist those who overstayed visas or have had their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Temporary Protected Status rescinded.
“There is such an overwhelming need,” Ngara said. “There are still people going to court without representation. Having representation greatly improves the chance the case will be successful.”
Ngara will develop outreach program strategies with the guidance of community leaders. Before the clinic opens, she plans to meet with local immigration advocacy groups to identify gaps in assistance where students can lend support.
“My hope,” she said, “is that Georgia State Law students learn how to be effective advocates while serving vulnerable communities.”