Students looking into “Live Stop”

Students in the Center’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic are studying the Philadelphia Police Department’s “Live Stop” program, which authorizes police to tow a vehicle if, during a traffic stop, the driver cannot produce a current license or registration.  An Inquirer article (“Philly cops leave undocumented woman, kids in street, take car”) illustrates some of the problems that can result.  Working with New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Center is examining the impact of the law and comparing Philadelphia’s approach with that of other cities.

Tax clinic at the Sheller Center

As February approaches, plans are again underway for the Center’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic.  Managed by Ceiba, a community organization, the clinic runs from February to mid-April, and is staffed in part by Temple Law student volunteers trained by Professor Alice Abreu (a member of the Center’s Affiliated Faculty).

Last year, the clinic prepared 187 returns, resulting in approximately $219,535 in state and federal refunds to local families.

The clinic also offers a terrific experience for law students.  Rachel Sellers, a second-year student, said this:  “VITA is an incredible opportunity to experience the tensions between tax policy and the consequences to real taxpayers. I genuinely looked forward to my Mondays at VITA as I met inspiring people and helped them to navigate the tax process. It is absolutely an eye-opening and worthwhile experience and I encourage everyone to volunteer!”

For more information, contact the Center or call Ceiba at 215.634.7245.

Research by Temple students raises questions about family-detention facility

Democracy Now! reports that the state of Pennsylvania has taken what could be the first step to close a controversial family detention center that has housed thousands of families seeking asylum in the United States. The reporter interviewed the Sheller Center’s Prof. Jennifer Lee, whose students researched whether the Berks County Residential Center was legally authorized to detain immigrant families — and found that the answer is no.