Beginning in 1987, students in the Civil Clinic were assigned immigration cases as a part of their overall caseload. However, it became clear to Civil Clinic faculty members that immigration cases required Clinic students to become familiar with a very complex area of law. Further, immigration cases traditionally take more than a semester to complete. Those two facts led the Civil Clinic faculty to create the Immigration Clinic, which became operational in 1998. Until 2017, enrollment in the Immigration Clinic was limited to two students per year. In the fall of 2017, enrollment in the Immigration Clinic was expanded to its current capacity, which is eight students per year total, six of whom take the Clinic during the academic year and two of whom take the Clinic from May of their second year to May of their third year.
As with other clinical offerings at the College of Law, the pedagogical goals of the Immigration Clinic are to allow students to apply theory to practice, assume professional responsibility for clients’ cases by acting in-role as their clients’ legal representatives, and be exposed to ethical issues that arise during their time in the Clinic. Although students represent immigrants in the Immigration Clinic, Clinic alums have gone on to varied careers, including working for the Department of Homeland Security, traditional private practice (both civil and criminal), transactional work, and agency work, as well as representing immigration clients. The skills and knowledge Immigration Clinic students receive during their time in the Clinic have proven to be an asset to them no matter what type of legal career they choose once they graduate.