Immigrant Rights Clinic
The Immigrant Rights Clinic engages law students in direct representation of immigrants before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and U.S. Courts of Appeals. Our representation focuses on deportation defense, particularly for individuals in immigration detention, as well as affirmative filings for survivors of crimes and abuse.
Clients include asylum-seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries, permanent residents facing deportation due to a criminal conviction, unaccompanied children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent, and undocumented individuals with substantial ties to the United States. Our clinic recognizes the importance of providing trauma-informed services in these cases and values interdisciplinary collaboration with social workers, psychologists and health care professionals.
As a student in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, you will typically work in pairs and have direct responsibility for your cases. You will:
- interview clients and witnesses
- prepare detailed declarations, motions and briefs
- develop factual evidence to support clients’ claims
- appear in court.
Merits hearings in immigration court are similar to trials, providing you the opportunity to take testimony, defend clients during cross-examination, work with expert witnesses and make oral arguments. Administrative and federal appeals give you additional experience writing complex legal briefs.
In addition to providing individual representation, you have the opportunity to undertake policy and advocacy projects around immigrant rights at the local, state and national levels. Such projects may include drafting legislation, writing reports, preparing training materials, collaborating with community organizations in developing strategies for a particular campaign, amicus briefing or participating in impact litigation.
Projects examine issues such as:
- the conditions of immigration detention
- exploring and proposing less restrictive alternatives to detention
- the intersection between the criminal and immigration systems
- the rights of migrant workers
- the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants.
These projects are designed to help you explore various ways to engage in social justice work and develop transferrable skills that are applicable to a wide range of careers post-graduation.
For further information, please contact the Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Professor Fatma Marouf.
Anyone with limited financial resources in need of legal counsel related to immigration may contact the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Clients are selected based on a variety of factors, including educational value to the law students, potential impact on society or communities and timing.
Although services are provided for free by the student attorneys and their supervisors, clients are responsible for certain fees and other costs that may be necessary.
Local, state or national organizations seeking to collaborate on a project or campaign are also encouraged to contact the Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Professor Fatma Marouf.