Immigration ties directly into human rights law at a variety of levels, but it does so most particularly in consideration of individual claims to asylum. As American law has expanded the list of human rights violations that may serve as bases for asylum claims, the Law School has developed an increasing interest in establishing a clinic with an immigration and asylum focus. Within the past year, the Law School has partnered with
Public Counsel - the major pro bono firm of the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations - to establish a significant clinical program in Immigration and Political Asylum.
Substantive case work undertaken by the clinic includes clients seeking asylum relief, relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and special visas under the more recently enacted Victim of Trafficking and Violent Crime Prevention Act (VTVPA) and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). These matters are brought before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (which includes both the Los Angeles Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)), and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This Clinic enables us to build a Program that allows students to participate not only in human rights work overseas, but also with a world-class program here in Los Angeles. Student activities in this clinic include:
Extensive interviewing of clients to determine eligibility for asylum or relief under VAWA, VTVPA, or SIJS;
Assistance of clients in preparing applications for asylum and SIJS, VAWA petitions, and applications for relief under the VTVPA;
Appearances before the asylum office, the immigration court, and on appeal before the BIA and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, under attorney supervision; and
Representation of abused or abandoned immigrant children seeking SIJS at DHS hearings, which are held at the downtown Federal Building. If granted, these children become lawful permanent residents.