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Updated 10:00 AM October 31, 2007




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Law School offers 'rights' manual to Spanish-speaking families

A practical manual for Spanish-speaking families residing in Michigan is among the new features on the Portal en Español.

The guide, produced by the Law School's Pediatric Advocacy Initiative, includes information for migrant workers and immigrant families about their basic rights. The 32-page guide covers topics such as medical, educational and children's services, labor rights, rights of battered women, and resources for families, among others.

The Pediatric Advocacy Initiative is part of the Clinical Law Program and provides free, confidential services to Washtenaw County's growing Latino community.

"We have seen first-hand how current laws and the political climate discourage many immigrant and migrant families from seeking out social and legal services," says Minsu Longiaru, attorney at the Pediatric Advocacy Initiative. "We hope that this guide can be of use to families by including information about their rights along with where to go and what to do when those rights are violated."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005 nearly 11,000 people — or 3.1 percent — of Washtenaw County's population of 344,047 were Latino. The number of undocumented workers living in the county is unknown.

In 2005 about 400,000 people in Michigan — or 3.8 percent of the population — were Latino. The number of Latino births between 1990 and 2005 increased by 95 percent, says Ken Darga, a U-M demographer.

The manual is available through a new Portal en Español feature called Community Connection, (Conexión Comunitaria), which will include information about organizations associated with the University that conduct public service and are linked to Spanish-speaking communities in Michigan, the United States and Latin America.

The University launched Portal en Español ( in September 2004.

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