Clinic students handled cutting-edge asylum claims from Mexico filed by individuals fleeing drug-related violence and government repression of human rights defenders. Most notably, in several hearings in the San Antonio Immigration Court over the period of a year, clinic students successfully represented more than a dozen members of a large family of Mexican activists from the Juarez Valley region of Mexico in their applications for asylum. The clinic has also participated in a national initiative to secure pro-bono representation for Mexican asylum seekers as well as provide documentation and expert witnesses to support these cases.
Students in the Immigration Clinic represent vulnerable low-income immigrants from all over the world before the immigration and federal courts and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Students gain hands-on experience by taking on the primary responsibility and decision-making authority for their cases, under the mentorship of the clinic directors.
The clinic’s caseload varies each semester, but we primarily focus on detention and deportation defense and asylum cases. In addition to handling a specific caseload, students provide pro-se assistance and legal advice to women detained at the Hutto immigration detention center. Students also engage in larger national and international human rights advocacy projects and collaborate with national organizations to reform and improve the rights of immigrants in the U.S. The clinic works closely with DREAMers (undocumented young people) as well and has organized large-scale workshops to assist with applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Through client representation and advocacy as well as the classroom component of the clinic, students learn substantive immigration law, develop interviewing and client relationship skills, practice and master a variety of legal advocacy techniques and explore different models for effective and collaborative lawyering.
The Documentary film The Least of These features UT Immigration Clinic’s legal work on behalf of detained families.
Read more about the Immigration Clinic’s work in opposition to the immigration detention of families at the controversial T. Don Hutto Detention Center.
Cases and Projects
Clinic students provide weekly pro-se advice and legal assistance to unrepresented immigrant women detained at the T. Don Hutto detention center. The facility houses women migrants, most of whom are seeking asylum. The students sometimes take on individual representation of women detained at the facility. During 2013-2014, student attorneys obtained release from detention for several women, allowing them to rejoin their families in the United States while pursuing their asylum claims.
The Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall prepared a submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights highlighting violations of the Right to Property, Non-Discrimination, and Indigenous Rights of Residents of the Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Texas-Mexio Border.