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Wayne Law professor's book explores legal assistance for noncitizen crime victims

August 08, 2014

Wayne State University Law School Assistant Professor Rachel Settlage is co-author of a new book written to help those who work with noncitizen victims of crime.

Immigration Relief: Legal Assistance for Noncitizen Crime Victims, published recently by the American Bar Association, was written by Settlage and co-authors Elizabeth Campbell and Veronica Thronson. Settlage, who teaches Immigration and Nationality Law, directs the Wayne Law Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic. Campbell teaches in the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan and Thronson directs the Immigration Law Clinic at Michigan State University.

“I approached them to write this book because we all have first-hand experience working with noncitizen clients who were the victims of crime in the United States and desperately needed help navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law,” Settlage said.

The book is intended to serve as an introduction to the range of immigration remedies available to vulnerable populations involved with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, states its introduction. It is a resource for attorneys, legal assistants, social workers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges or anyone else who works with noncitizen victims of crime.

“New immigrants often are not aware of their rights to protection and assistance in this country,” the book states. “Immigrants without lawful status face the credible fear that if they report a crime to law enforcement, they will be deported or the perpetrator will further harm them for reporting. Perpetrators are fully aware of this credible fear and exploit it to their advantage.”

The book outlines relief options available for noncitizen victims of crimes including abuse, domestic violence, neglect, persecution and trafficking.

In addition to explaining the law, the book also offers:

  • Definitions of key terms and concepts.
  • Charts explaining the organization of the various agencies and departments involved in the adjudication of applications for immigration relief.
  • Checklists to ensure that the final applications for relief are complete.
  • Lists of additional resources for attorneys.

Before joining Wayne Law, Settlage of Grosse Pointe served as a clinical fellow with the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic. She also has practiced law at the Asylum Program of Southern Arizona; served as a senior researcher at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian; and served as a foreign affairs officer/senior editor at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Settlage earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, master’s degree from Georgetown University and bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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