Immigration Law Clinic
About the Clinic
In the Immigration Law Clinic, students receive intensive instruction in the substantive law, procedures, and concepts required to represent non-citizen clients in a multitude of immigration matters, including: affirmative applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for immigrant victims of crimes, for abused, abandoned or neglected children, for individuals seeking asylum, permanent residence status or naturalization; for defense in removal proceedings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review; and in appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Authorized by federal regulation, second- and third-year law students engage in representation of real clients in immigration matters. Students complete these direct services under the supervision of clinic faculty to ensure representation consistent with best practices. Students may appear in state and federal court and in non-adversarial administrative interviews. Students gain experience in client interviewing and counseling, factual investigation, trial preparation, advocacy, persuasive writing, and other work relevant to representation of immigrant clients. Students will also hone oral advocacy skills as they present to their classmates and to community members on topics in immigration law.
Immigration Law Clinic Director
Professor Aronson joined the University of Illinois College of Law faculty in fall 2019 to direct the Immigration Law Clinic. Previously, she taught and directed the Immigration Law Clinic as part of LSU Law’s Clinical Legal Education Program. She was also a teaching Fellow at Michigan State University College of Law, where she taught in the Immigration Law Clinic, as well as a Refugee and Asylum Law seminar which explored the contours of the international refugee definition, compared related forms of protection, and examined U.S. asylum procedure. Read more about Professor Aronson.
“I hope that [students] learn what it means to be a zealous advocate. They may not all practice in this area, but hopefully they will maintain an understanding of the importance of this work. I hope that they understand the complexity of immigration law and feel confident dispelling misconceptions about it.” – Lauren Aronson
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Student Clinician Experiences
Julie Stankiewicz, ’23“Doing a clinic, even if it’s not something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, is an experience that everyone should have. You get to work with these clients almost every day and it feels like a true work environment, and you are really helping people who need your help. The Immigration Law Clinic does help for humanitarian reasons for our clients, and a lot of times they wouldn’t get the help if it weren’t for us. So it’s nice to know that you can make a difference in just one semester of law school.”
Matt Musipa, ’23“I am very passionate about immigration matters because I am an immigrant myself. As someone who has been through the immigration system, I understand the anxiety, frustration, and confusion that immigrants experience as they go through this complex system. It is truly humbling to realize that my work, through the Immigration Law Clinic, has drastically changed or has the potential to change someone else’s life for the better.”
Analy Ayala Blanco, ’23“The most rewarding part of participating in the Immigration Law Clinic was establishing a good relationship with my clients and getting to know them. As their Student Attorney, it was an honor to play a small role during such a huge moment in their lives. Many immigrants often wait years, if not decades, for the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. My clients’ gratitude and being able to give them hope provided the fuel that I needed when I felt overwhelmed because of school.”
- Open Illinois provides information, resources and guidance for undocumented, DACA and those impacted by immigration reform.
For Prospective Clients
If you or someone you know has an immigration legal issue which you believe makes you/them eligible for some form of humanitarian or family-based immigration relief, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-244-9494 to speak with our bilingual staff and see if a free legal consultation is appropriate for your situation. The Immigration Law Clinic CANNOT assist with any student- or employment-related immigration cases.