STUDENT PROFILE Malachy Schrobilgen
Before enrolling at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Malachy Schrobilgen already advocated for the rights of children. As an undergrad, he worked in an alternative education program, often encountering kids who were involved in the juvenile justice system. After graduation, he served Madison, Wisconsin’s juvenile court systems—which solidified his pull toward law school.
“A lot of youth voices are overlooked in broader society,” he says. “I want to make sure they have an equal seat at the table.”
In June 2020, Schrobilgen began working as a legal fellow at Loyola’s Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC), focusing specifically on immigration. At the Center, he threw himself into hands-on work drafting federal district court litigation, writing scholarly articles, and even submitting a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Migration. Much of his work focused on Title 42, an obscure public health law that quickly became his expertise.
In March 2020, the Trump administration invoked Title 42, which barred migrant children from entering the United States under the guise of pandemic protection. The CHRC saw the move as a major violation of children’s legal rights.
“A lot of youth voices are overlooked in broader society. I want to make sure they have an equal seat at the table.”
“A law that is intended to help protect against the spread of diseases like COVID was being warped to harm a very vulnerable population,” Schrobilgen says.
At the CHRC, Schrobilgen worked closely with Associate Director Sarah J. Diaz. When the Harvard Public Health Review posted a call for papers, the pair moved quickly to submit to the publication—and their pitch was accepted. Their article, “The Role of Public Health in the Rule of Law: The Cautionary Tale of Title 42 Expulsions,” examines the important overlap of public health and migration law—the culmination of a full year of collaboration and research.
From requesting documents under the Freedom of Information Act to publishing in Ivy League journals, Schrobilgen’s hands-on work has potential real-world effects. “His work is illustrative of what students can expect while working at the CHRC,” says Diaz. “We were able to accomplish so much as a result of his commitment to social justice.”
Schrobilgen says he already sees the benefits of his real-world experience. “Being entrusted with real legal work, with consequences, is something I’ve always looked forward to,” he says. “I trust my instincts a lot more now. I know I will in my future work as well.” –Megan Kirby