Cabrini University has launched a Center on Immigration, which it touts as an academic, nonpartisan organization created to promote immigrant rights through research, education, and advocacy.

"Through the center's work, we will seek to transform the dominant narrative about immigration, amplify the voices and sentiments of those most directly impacted, and contest prevalent misconceptions," said Abel Rodríguez, faculty director of the center and an assistant professor of religion, law, and social justice. "At its core, the aim of the center will be to work in solidarity with, and in service of, our immigrant communities."

The immigration center is the second of four academic centers the Radnor-based university plans to open during its 60th anniversary year. Also last month, the university started the Center of Urban Education, Equity and Improvement. In the fall, it will open the Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education and the Center for Global Learning.

The immigration center will let students further their interest in social justice by advancing the human rights and human dignity of immigrants, the university said. It will help migrants, refugees, and survivors of human trafficking and, according to its website, "on a limited basis," offer legal representation to low-income people facing deportation or seeking citizenship.

"Perhaps there is no more important time and no more important place to be doing this work," Rodríguez said.

The university launched the center with a panel discussion last week that drew 150 people. Panelists included Erika Almirón, executive director of Juntos; Yolanda Flores, family program coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services; John Grogan, founding partner at Langer, Grogan and Diver PC; Hernán Guaracao, publisher and CEO of Al Día News Media and member of Cabrini's board of trustees; and Steven Larín, senior director of legal services and immigration policy at the Nationalities Service Center.

Cabrini, a Catholic university enrolling about 1,300 undergraduates and 900 graduate, doctoral, and professional students, was founded in 1957 by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.