Students have multiple clients as well as other responsibilities relating to the Immigration Law Clinic’s public service mission. Each student handles at least one complicated case involving extensive client contact and legal briefing. The clinic, a partnership with the Legal Aid Justice Center, is more than free counsel for qualifying clients, but also a community service providing an orientation to basic rights and available services to walk-ins and the wider community. For example, the clinic not only is taking some of the new “Dreamer” cases of undocumented youth, but coordinating a community outreach effort.
Clients come from diverse backgrounds and frequently have unusual factual scenarios that bring them to the doors of Legal Aid. Students are expected to work with the clients and understand what they want and what we can pursue for them through available legal mechanisms. Women victims of violence are a priority with the clinic and can qualify for asylum and other special remedies such as through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and U visa petitions. The clinic currently has several so-called gang asylum cases from Central America. Other categories of cases include clients appealing denials of applications for status, clients appealing for special categorization or procedures and clients who have cases complicated by past criminal or immigration history.