Immigrants' Rights Clinic
In the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, students represent individual immigrants and engage in multidisciplinary advocacy on behalf of immigrants’ rights organizations. Clients include asylum-seekers, immigrant survivors of domestic violence applying to change their status, and non-citizens with old or minor criminal convictions who seek humanitarian relief from deportation. Under the supervision of clinic director Jayashri Srikantiah, up to 12 students each semester assume responsibility for all aspects of case preparation, including interviewing clients and witnesses, investigating facts, writing pleadings, developing case strategies, and conducting legal research.
Students also collaborate with immigrants’ rights organizations on impact litigation, public education, grassroots advocacy, and media work. Students have developed “know-your-rights” materials for foreign students affected by post-9/11 restrictions, written a U.S. Supreme Court brief detailing the effect of deportation on immigrant communities, and planned and launched a project enabling a local domestic violence shelter to work with local law firms to provide legal assistance to survivors. The clinic’s work is particularly relevant in California’s San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, where about one third of the population is foreign-born.
“My semester in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic was one of my most meaningful experiences in law school. It gave me the opportunity to understand, in concrete terms, how immigration laws affect people’s daily lives and demonstrated that the practice of law involves a range of skills beyond those taught in the classroom.”
Julie Smolinski ’07