Professor Elora Mukherjee stands in front of Columbia Law School

Elora Mukherjee

  • Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law

J.D., Yale Law School, 2005
B.A., Rutgers University, 2002

Areas of Specialty

Immigration Law
Civil Rights
Police Misconduct
Prisoners’ Rights
Housing and Employment Discrimination

A globally recognized advocate, practitioner, and voice for immigrants, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied migrant children, Elora Mukherjee is the director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. Since founding the clinic in 2014, she and her students have traveled to both sides of the Mexico-United States border. In 2015, they were the first pro bono counsel representing individual asylum seekers—all mothers and children—at a newly opened detention center in Dilley, Texas, which she described as a “deportation mill.”

For more than a decade, Mukherjee has worked on issues related to enforcing the Flores Settlement Agreement, which sets a limit on the length of time children can be detained in federal immigration custody, requires that they be held in the least restrictive area possible, and guarantees access to basic hygiene and adequate nutrition. 

In 2019, Mukherjee’s firsthand reports of the inhumane conditions of confinement for children in a U.S. border detention station sparked national and international outrage as she gave extensive media interviews on what she had witnessed. She was invited to testify before Congress, where she detailed for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform how children in border detention centers were sick, dirty, frightened, separated from family members, and held as victims of federal policies that she argued were unconstitutional, unlawful, ineffective, and un-American.

Mukherjee began her career as a clerk for Judge Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and then won a fellowship with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. From 2007 to 2010, she worked at a law firm, specializing in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, housing, and employment discrimination, and then rejoined the ACLU as a staff attorney until 2013.

Mukherjee regularly collaborates with other immigrants’ rights advocates on strategic litigation, legislative reform, grassroots activism, public education, and coalition building. She serves on the boards of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Project Amplify, and the Refugee Reunification Project.


Honors and Awards

Columbia Society for International Law Faculty Honors Award


National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Elizabeth S. “Lisa” Brodyaga Award


Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project


Champion of the Children Award from Children of Bellevue


Influencer by Congressional Quarterly 2020


New York State Bar Association Root Stimson Award


Champion of Justice Award from the Muslim Bar Association of New York


South Asian Council for Social Services Award for Longstanding Dedication to Safeguarding the Legal Rights of Vulnerable Refugees


Rutgers 250 Fellow

Honorable Mention for Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching by Faculty at Columbia University


Remarks and Testimony

Elora Mukherjee describes horrific conditions at the border, C-SPAN, July 12, 2019

Activities and Affiliations

  • Director, Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project
  • Founder and Director, Refugee Reunification Project
  • Legal Advisory Committee, International Refugee Assistance Project
  • New York Advisory Committee, Kids in Need of Defense
  • Past Director, South Asian Council for Social Services
  • Past Director, Warm Heart
  • Past Director, Project Amplify
  • Past Director, Fair Housing Justice Center

News and Press


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