Founded in the Fall of 2016, The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) was started by three Brandeis Students and one Brandeis Professor with the goal of addressing the problem of under-representation in immigration courts.
During the Fall of 2016, Munis Safajou, then a senior at Brandeis University, was searching for an internship to include as part of her Legal Studies Minor. After completing Professor Douglas Smith's Immigration and Human Rights course in the Spring of 2016, Munis was intrigued by the Department of Justice's Recognition and Accreditation program.
After meeting with Professor Smith and connecting with Victoria St. Jean, a sophomore at Brandeis who had taken the Immigration and Human Rights course with Munis, the three of them began to consider starting a nonprofit that could become recognized and help them become accredited. Jonathan Goldman was taking Professor Smith's class during the Fall of 2016 and they reached out to him to include in this process.
After several weeks of brainstorming and the outing of a business plan and Articles of Incorporation, the team of four moved forwards to become incorporated in Massachusetts and applied for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
TRII serves as the first organization aiming to use the talents and energy of undergraduate students to help attorneys and accredited representatives aid those who do not have access to legal representation to navigate the convoluted immigration system. The organization has two licensed attorneys on board and students conduct research and sit in on client meetings only when approved by the client and under attorney supervision.
our next steps
We are in the process of submitting our application for recognition and accreditation with the OLAP and the Board of Immigration Appeals. In addition, we are in the process of working with Waltham High School to see how we can support non-citizens in their school.