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The Immigration Court Observation Project: public perceptions of procedural fairness


The Human Rights Defender Project is a collaborative initiative from The Advocates for Human Rights, the University of Minnesota Law School James H. Binger Center for New Americans, and Robins Kaplan LLP. As part of the project, members of the public can volunteer to sit in on detained immigrant court hearings—which are always open to the public—and record what they observe and feel about the process, giving them a chance to see what these hearings consist of beyond their depictions in the media. In this podcast, you'll hear from three Minnesota academics affiliated with the project: Linus Chan, associate professor of clinical law and director of the Detainee Rights Clinic at the James Binger Center; Jack DeWaard, UMN associate professor of sociology, graduate faculty at the Minnesota Population Center, and adjunct faculty member at the Humphrey School; and Chris Levesque, a PhD student in sociology at UMN and graduate research assistant at the MPC. They discuss why the project differs from other court observation projects due to its focus on perceived fairness, how they're working with the qualitative and quantitative data being collected, and some takeaways from the data itself—including examples of what observers view as fair or unfair.