Students must register for Law 397C and 397D, for a total of six credits.
In addition to participating in the classroom component of the Immigration Clinic, student attorneys in the clinic provide representation to vulnerable low-income immigrants and engage in analysis of broader immigration policy issues as well. Clinic students learn substantive immigration law and policy, practice important lawyering techniques and explore models for ethical, responsible and effective lawyering.
The cases handled by the Immigration Clinic are diverse and illustrate the breadth of immigration practice. The clinic has handled cases for clients from, among other countries, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guinea, Nepal, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. The clinic's cases range from asylum claims based on political persecution or religious, ethnic or gender-based violence to claims of United States citizenship by individuals born abroad to U.S. citizen parents whose status has not been recognized by immigration authorities. The clinic also defends individuals facing deportation who have lived in the United States for many years and have developed strong ties here.
In addition, the clinic continues to conduct legal work at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in nearby Taylor, Texas. The controversial facility previously held families and now holds women immigrants facing deportation, many of whom are seeking asylum. Student attorneys seek release of the women detainees and provide continued representation in some cases.
Student attorneys in the clinic take on primary responsibility for their cases and projects, with guidance and mentoring from the clinic faculty. Each semester, the clinic's student attorneys conduct a range of lawyering activities including: collaboration with immigrants' rights advocacy organizations, client interviewing, development of case strategy, brief writing, preparation of witnesses, and final presentation of cases before adjudicating bodies. Some of the clinic's cases are handled administratively before the Department of Homeland Security and involve an interview process while others require full trials in the immigration courts, including document submission, witness examination and closing arguments. Other cases involve appellate brief writing and legal argument before the federal and immigration courts. Students in the clinic have also engaged in advocacy efforts taking place before national and international bodies, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The Immigration Clinic meets for class two times per week for an hour and a half. Grading is on a pass/fail basis for this six-credit hour clinic. There is no final exam or paper. Students should expect to spend 10-20 hours per week on clinic work, including class time and office hours. Students will occasionally travel to the Hutto detention facility and to San Antonio where the Immigration Court and the offices of the Department of Homeland Security are located.
Students are encouraged to apply for the clinic during early registration as enrollment is limited and faculty permission is required to register. Students should submit an application, available on the Immigration Clinic website, by the end of the early registration period. The application questionnaire should be returned to the clinic's administrator, Lourdes Diaz, by e-mail at email@example.com or by hand to the clinic office at CCJ 1.310. Students may request to be placed on a waiting list if space is unavailable during early registration.
For more information about the Immigration Clinic, contact Barbara Hines (firstname.lastname@example.org), Denise Gilman (email@example.com) or Lourdes Diaz (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also invite you to visit the Immigration Clinic offices.