The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic represents persons seeking asylum in the United States, human trafficking victims and immigrant detainees. This clinic, which is part of the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, provides students with extensive client contact, legal writing, and courtroom advocacy experience. Students receive frequent and detailed feedback on all of their clinic work.
For their representation of clients in asylum cases, students interview and counsel their clients on a regular basis, research conditions in the countries where their clients suffered persecution, write briefs and represent their clients in hearings at U.S. Immigration Court. Depending on the resolution of their case at the trial level, students will write appellate briefs to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. For their representation of human trafficking victims, students interview their clients, research the relevant law, interact with government officials who have investigated the trafficking scheme, and prepare applications for visas that permit their clients to remain in the United States. Students also represent immigrant detainees at hearings in Immigration Court to determine if they have defenses to deportation. Students also work on public policy and community outreach projects which bring them into contact with immigrant rights groups at the state and national level. As a result of their work in the clinic, students learn about U.S. immigration law and policy and participate in the Binger Center’s innovative strategies for improving the lives of immigrants through strategic litigation, well-informed public policy, and community outreach and education.
The clinic is a year-long course open to second and third-year students, beginning in the fall semester each year. Enrollment is generally limited to eight students. Please contact Professor Stephen Meili at firstname.lastname@example.org (612-626- 3972) with any questions.
Additional Commitments: Weekly status meetings with Prof. Meili and the student director assigned to any particular case are required throughout the entire academic year. Students are also required to attend the clinic seminar that meets on a weekly basis in the fall semester and on an as-needed basis in the spring.
What to expect when working on cases and with clients: Students will take on an average 2-4 client cases during the year. Some of our clients will be detained in immigrant detention centers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Translators will be available for those students who do not speak their client’s native language. Many of our clients have suffered extreme forms of persecution, including torture, prolonged solitary confinement, and domestic violence. Students will frequently work with mental health professionals in addressing the psychological impact of such persecution.
NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.