April 27, 2021: The Civil Rights Clinic and the Texas Black Caucus Foundation released a report detailing recommendations for digital inclusion efforts aimed at increasing broadband and computer access and adoption for all Texans. Both state and national data show that low-income households, school-age children, communities of color, older adults, and people with disabilities have lower rates of broadband adoption, along with rural households who lack infrastructure. Recent efforts show that access to broadband must be accompanied by access to devices, digital literacy, and technical support to effectively close the “digital divide.” The report makes recommendations for state legislators and the soon-to-be-created state broadband office to prioritize and advance digital inclusion in Texas.
Civil Rights Clinic
Students in the Civil Rights Clinic represent low-income clients in a range of civil rights matters relating to, for example, abusive law enforcement practices, prisoners’ rights, discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodations, and freedoms of speech, religion, and association.
The Clinic was not offered in 2021-22 but will be offered in 2022-23.
Cases and Projects
January 2021: The Civil Rights Clinic and the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance released a report detailing the availability and benefits of harm reduction-based health services for people who use drugs. The report explains why health services such as syringe service programs, medication-assisted treatment, testing for HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C) are critical to prevent overdose and promote health. The report also explains why investment in health services is cost-effective and produces far better health benefits, when compared with criminal drug enforcement. The report makes recommendations for legal reforms to increase access to health services for people who use drugs.
April 2020: The Clinic along with attorneys from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid represented six women who are medically vulnerable due to their age and medical conditions in a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeking release from a civil immigration detention facility in El Paso that had several confirmed cases of COVID-19. The women alleged that the facility did not adequately implement CDC guidelines to mitigate COVID-19 spread, in violation of Due Process. Within days, and after a tour of the facility by the federal district judge, ICE officials settled the lawsuit and released petitioners pursuant to an “alternatives to detention” program. The women will shelter in place and obtain medical care as needed, reuniting with their loved ones as soon as possible.