Represent individuals seeking to gain or maintain legal status in the United States and live a life full of opportunity and promise while gaining invaluable hands-on lawyering experience.
Students in the Immigrant Rights Clinic provide legal representation to individuals facing deportation before the Immigration Court, Federal Court of Appeals and the Administrative Agency. Clinic students represent clients from around the world in a range of immigration matters -- those who are fleeing persecution from their native lands as a result of sexual orientation, religion, or political activities and beliefs; those who are victims of domestic violence and other crimes; youth who have been abandoned, neglected or abused by their parents; and those who are long-standing permanent residents with families and lives entrenched in the United States.
Great Day for Client Granted Asylum and Long-Standing Permanent Resident Facing Removal -- Two Examples of Many
A client of the Immigrant Rights Clinic received a decision granting him asylum. The client, a native and citizen of Chad, was persecuted by the government, his family and religious leaders because he is a gay man. Over the course of nearly three years, numerous students worked tirelessly on securing evidence to support his application and achieve this life-changing result.
In Spring of 2021, the Clinic successfully argued for the termination of removal proceedings against a client who was facing deportation for a decades-old conviction for possession of marijuana. The client, a Lawful Permanent Resident for over thirty years, is the sole provider for her three U.S. citizen children, who would have suffered great harm if their mother was deported.
Each case involves in-depth analysis and creativity in advocacy to build the best case possible under the law. The knowledge gained by students and the work in which they have engaged has resulted in enormous success for the Clinic's clients for over twenty years.
Additionally, students are often given the opportunity to work on litigation and advocacy projects in collaboration with community organizations.
The clinical experience made me a better lawyer right out of law school and it continues to be valuable now. For years, I worked every day on asylum and immigration cases, defending the rights of refugees and others in desperate need of protection. I owe so much of that opportunity to the cases I worked on in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, which provided me with excellent lawyering skills that I could not have obtained solely in the classroom. As a litigator in a large law firm, the practical experience I gained in the Clinic was invaluable to me. Even now, more than 10 years after graduating, I often encounter issues in my practice that I first faced in the Clinic.
Former Senior Staff Attorney, Human Rights First
Immigrant Rights Clinic, 2005
Overseen by Professor Gemma Solimene, a former Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit of The Legal Aid Society, students have direct responsibility for all aspects of their client cases and engage in a full range of lawyering and litigation skills, including client and witness interviewing, affidavit drafting, factual investigation of an individual and their family's lives in their native country and in the United States, production of evidence, witness preparation, and trial work.