Human Rights Advocate to Speak about Asylum and Immigration Detention

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Ruthie Epstein, researcher and advocate for the Refugee Protection Program of Human Rights First, will speak about U.S. immigration detention policy and practice on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 12 p.m. in Rm. 4085 at the UNC School of Law. She will also discuss Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation program for indigent asylum seekers. Human Rights First is an independent, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington.

The lecture — free and open to the public — is sponsored by the The Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic at UNC School of Law, along with the Immigration Law Association and the International and Comparative Law Organization.

Epstein is the author of “Jails and Jumpsuits: Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System – A Two-Year Review,” released in October 2011. She presented the preliminary findings of this report in August 2011 at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. Epstein has also worked extensively on the issue of Iraqi displacement and wrote the report “Promises to the Persecuted: The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act” (2009). Previously, she helped to run Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation program in New York and New Jersey. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and an A.B. in history from Washington University in St. Louis.

UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees member Alston Gardner (BA ’77) will be introducing Epstein. Gardner, who is also on the board of Human Rights First, is a venture partner in Fulcrum Equity Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Gardner teaches at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and has been a guest lecturer at a number of other business schools including Harvard Business School.

The Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic at the UNC School of Law is a two-semester clinic that provides students with an opportunity to represent clients in immigration cases and work on legal projects addressing human rights initiatives. For more about the center, visit

-January 3, 2012

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