In the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC), students represent immigrants in deportation proceedings before the San Francisco immigration court as well as other administrative bodies and the federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Students develop core litigation and trial skills by: writing and arguing complex legal motions; counseling clients; interviewing witnesses and experts; developing facts; conducting mini-trials involving direct and cross examination of witnesses; and writing and arguing appeals. IRC clients include asylum seekers fleeing persecution abroad, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), and survivors of domestic violence and torture.
All IRC students also engage in impact litigation and advocacy on behalf of immigrant communities. Students in the IRC have developed and litigated class action cases and appeals in the federal courts of appeals, resulting in landmark rulings such as the Ninth Circuit’s decisions barring the federal government from subjecting immigrants to prolonged detention. Students have also prepared materials and appeared before administrative and legislative bodies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the California legislature, and the U.S. Congress. Clinic students have developed know-your-rights materials after visiting local immigration detention centers; fought against local law enforcement involvement in immigration enforcement through appearances before local commissions and governing bodies; and appeared before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to advocate on behalf of undocumented immigrant communities.
“My time in the Immigrants' Rights Clinic has been the most valuable part of my SLS education. It taught me what it means to advocate for my clients' interests, and showed me the myriad of ways that I, as a lawyer, can be a part of real and lasting change. Whether I could affect one person's life through direct services or thousands through an advocacy project, I am so grateful for the opportunity to develop my lawyering skills as part of the IRC!”
Aimee Krause '13