Detainee Rights Clinic – 7844

* Multi-semester course

The Detainee Rights Clinic is part of the Center for New Americans and will provide students multifaceted opportunities to represent non-citizens facing removal from the United States who are detained at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) facilities in the Twin Cities area.

Students will learn substantive immigration law through the seminar component, with a particular focus on removal defense and immigration detention. Due to the intertwining of criminal and immigration law, or “crimmigration,” students will gain knowledge of Minnesota criminal law and criminal procedure. Students will learn about administrative legal remedies and relief that are available to those facing removal as well as the procedures and mechanisms in place to decide whether a person can remain in the United States. Client counseling, interviewing and investigative skills will be practiced frequently and honed over the course of two semesters. Students will learn how to discover relevant information for a case, procure documentary evidence and conduct effective interviews- all for clients being detained in county jails. Students will have considerable opportunities to work on writing skills such as drafting motions, memos, affidavits and briefs.

In the first semester, students will conduct intake interviews, work on administrative appeals, and represent clients in bond hearings before the Bloomington Immigration Court. During the second semester, students will represent clients in a full “merits” case which is an administrative hearing resembling a mini-trial. Student teams will be expected to take charge on their cases, which will require gathering facts, developing a case strategy, developing a narrative, and making key judgment calls. While there will be abundant supervision by the Detainee Rights Clinic faculty members, student initiative and judgment will be expected. Not only will student teams represent clients at every stage of litigation, from intake to appeal, but will also have many opportunities to work on outreach and advocacy efforts with Center for New American partners on issues that impact detainees, such as access to counsel, pro se representation, conditions of confinement, and mental health competency.

Additional Commitments:

  • Weekly status meetings with Prof. Chan and the student director assigned to any particular file are required throughout the entire academic year.
  • Attend at least two Legal Orientation Program (LOP) presentations throughout the academic year.
  • Attend at least two Detention Project intakes throughout the academic year.


What to expect when working on cases and with clients: Students typically take on a Board of Immigration Appeals case in the first semester, then a more substantive relief from removal case in the second semester. However, other case opportunities often arise and students may have the chance to represent clients in bond proceedings, or even habeas corpus proceedings. Students meet with clients in person, on the phone and correspond with them. Students also represent clients before the Bloomington Immigration Court. Clients in this clinic are individuals who are incarcerated.

NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.


Fall 2024

Fall 2023

Fall 2022

Alicia Granse ’19
Alan Berks
Laura Wilson ’12
JD only. Recommended: LAW 6219 Evidence and Law 6872 Immigration Law.
Graduation Requirements
Experiential Learning
Subject Area
Civil Litigation *
Criminal Justice *
Immigration Law *
Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution & Advocacy
Student Year
Upper Division
Grade base
A - F
Course type