The Immigration Clinic was established in 1998. Its purpose is to give students an intensive, year-long experience working in-depth on immigration cases and projects on behalf of low-income clients in need of legal assistance. Students interested in the Immigration Clinic must apply and go through the Clinic selection process that takes place in the spring of each year. The maximum enrollment in the Immigration Clinic is eight students each academic year. However, because of ongoing client needs, two of those eight students will be selected to participate in the Immigration Clinic for an entire calendar year – from May following their second year to May of their third year. Those two students will receive commensurate academic credit for participating for an entire year. The types of cases handled by students vary with the needs of the clientele, but generally include such matters as family-based immigrant cases, deportation defense, asylum cases (both affirmative and defensive), Special Immigrant Juvenile visa cases, post-conviction claims based on failure of defense counsel to advise of immigration consequences of criminal proceedings, and other like matters. There are also ongoing projects in the Immigration Clinic – each team of two students will be responsible for heading up one of those projects. Currently, those projects include (1) organizing and running an annual community naturalization clinic; (2) administering the “crimmigration” memo project which provides legal analysis to criminal defense attorneys of possible immigration consequences their non-citizen clients face; (3) administering the “Quick Counsel” project, which involves representing clients in limited scope proceedings in cases that the Clinic cannot accept for extended representation; and (4) the Special Immigrant Juvenile project, which involves coordinating the Clinic’s representation of juvenile clients seeking to obtain permanent resident status. Although they will inherit an ongoing caseload, students in the Immigration Clinic have a fair amount of discretion in deciding what types of new cases to take, and will have some flexibility to tailor those types of cases to their areas of interest.
Crimmigration Analysis Memos for Criminal Defense Counsel
From September 12, 2022, through November 11, 2022, and then again from January 23, 2023 through April 21, 2023, students in the Immigration Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law, under the supervision of Professor Kevin Ruser, are available, on a limited basis, to consult with criminal defense counsel regarding possible immigration consequences their non-citizen clients may face as the result of clients’ involvement with the Nebraska state criminal justice system. Complete the Email Template Request found below and send it to Professor Kevin Ruser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found in the Consultation Agreement. Contact Professor Kevin Ruser at email@example.com with questions.
The Nebraska Criminal Law Practitioner's Guide to Representing Non-Citizens in State Court Proceedings
The goals of this Guide are to give Nebraska criminal law practitioners and judges an overview of the federal immigration system, acquaint them with immigration issues that may arise as the result of state criminal proceedings, and analyze various Nebraska criminal statutes in terms of their potential immigration consequences.
“The Immigration Clinic was by far the best experience of my law school career. Professor Ruser really allowed me to take the reins and make the experience my own. He allowed me to select cases that aligned with my interests and he pushed me to develop case strategies independently, which enabled me to garner a more in-depth understanding of the law. Ultimately, my clinical experience helped define my career path. I wanted to practice immigration law in Lincoln, and, following graduation, that meant starting up my own solo practice. Because of my Immigration Clinic experience, I had the skills and confidence needed to hit the ground running.”
Amanda M. CivicClass of 2012
“The Immigration Clinic is one of the most comprehensive experiences Nebraska Law offers. During my year as a student attorney, I was able to experience the rigor of the real practice of law. Through the representation of my clients, I was able to learn how to interview clients, draft pleadings and briefs for State and Immigration Court, pick up the phone and talk to opposing counsel to reduce the number of contested issues to be argued at the hearing. I was able to appear in various County and District Courts throughout Nebraska and in Immigration Court. But most importantly, Immigration Clinic taught me the most valuable lesson I learned in law school -- how to be a good attorney. In Immigration Clinic I learned that in order to be a good attorney, in addition to having a thorough understanding of the law, one must have humanity, be perseverant, and always be willing to be creative within the bounds of law.”
Roxana Cortesclass of 2016
“The Immigration Clinic provided me with hands-on experiences that equipped me with the skills I need going into the legal profession -- skills that cannot be acquired in the classroom alone. I not only gained experience in the immigration world, but learned a great deal about how to be an ethical legal representative. Working with diverse clients, each with a different story and legal need, provided me with a variety of practical experiences that prepared me for post-graduation. I feel confident going into the legal profession after being exposed to so many cases and working on them directly.”
Kendra Haackclass of 2016