- J.D., Yale Law School, 2005
- B.A., Rutgers University, 2002
Elora Mukherjee is the Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law and director of Columbia Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Mukherjee’s teaching, practice, and advocacy focus on representing immigrants, asylum seekers, and children seeking special immigrant juvenile status.
Mukherjee has taken students to the southern border of the United States since she founded the clinic in 2014. In January 2015, they were the first pro bono counsel on site at a detention center in Dilley, Texas, representing individual asylum seekers. Mukherjee and her clinical students continue to work with refugees on both sides of the U.S. border.
For more than 10 years, Mukherjee has been working on issues related to the Flores settlement, an agreement that outlines how the U.S. government must care for unaccompanied migrant children and promptly release them from custody.
Mukherjee regularly collaborates with immigrants’ rights advocates on strategic litigation, legislative reform, grassroots advocacy, public education, and coalition building. Their work has been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Mukherjee and the clinic are representing immigrants from around the world, including Constantin Mutu, who at the age of four months became the youngest known child to be separated from his parents at the southern border, and his father Vasile. Their case was the subject of a New York Times investigative report.
Mukherjee is also an advisor to students working with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization co-founded by Brad Smith ’84 that provides legal representation to unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings. She is the founder and director of the Refugee Reunification Project, which provides grants to help refugee families relocate to the United States.
A former staff attorney at the ACLU Racial Justice Program, Mukherjee served as lead counsel in a class action lawsuit challenging racial profiling and civil asset forfeiture laws in Texas. From 2007 to 2010, she was an associate at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, where she specialized in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, and housing and employment discrimination. After graduating from Yale Law School in 2005, she clerked for Judge Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
From 2006 to 2007, Mukherjee served as the Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU Racial Justice Program, working on all aspects of investigating, litigating, and settling suits for immigrant children detained under prison-like conditions at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, among other matters.
Mukherjee joined the Law School in May 2013 as a clinical teaching fellow and lecturer in law, and was appointed associate clinic professor in 2014.
- Immigration law
- Civil rights
- Police misconduct
- Prisoners’ rights
- Housing and employment discrimination
- “Abolishing the Time Tax on Voting,” 89 Notre Dame Law Review 101, 2009
- “American Civil Liberties Union – New York Civil Liberties Union,” Criminalizing the Classroom: The Over-Policing of New York City Schools, 2007
- Human Rights First, “The United States and International Human Rights,” (with co-authors), Assessing the New Normal: Liberty and Security for the Post-September 11 United States, 2003
- Book Review, “Ethnic Conflict & Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India,” by Ashutosh Varshney, in Yale Journal of International Law, 2003
- Founder and Director, Refugee Reunification Project
- Director, Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center
- Director, Warm Heart
- Past Director, Fair Housing Justice Center
- Honorable Mention for 2016 Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching by Faculty at Columbia University
- Named as a Rutgers 250 Fellow
- "Opinion: What slavery can teach Supreme Court justices about DACA", Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2019
- "Asylum: 90% of claims fall at first hurdle after US process change, lawsuit alleges", The Guardian, November 13, 2019
- "Ending DACA Could Leave College Students Scrambling for a Way to Continue Their Educations", Newsweek November 13, 2019
- "Let Immigration Judges Speak", Slate, October 24, 2019
- "The Risks of Denying the Flu Vaccine to Migrant Children", (Audio & Article), The Takeaway, August 22, 2019
- "Trump Policy Would Allow Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families, Children", (Audio & Article), August 22, 2019
- "Body Cavity Searches, Indefinite Detention and No Visistations Allowed", (Article) Newsweek, August 21, 2019
- "Trump Campaign to Democrats on Flores Agreement Change: This is What You Wanted", (Video), Newsweek, August 21, 2019
- "Migrant Children Are Entitled to Toothbrushes and Soap, Federal Court Rules, (Video), New York Times, August 15, 2019
- "The Whole Child Seperation Travesty is Pointless" (Video), CNN, August 7, 2019
- "Some Undocumented Immigrants Are Now Subject to 'Expedited Removal.' Here's What to Know" (Article) Time, July 23, 2019
- "Americans Aren't Allowed to Donate to and Volunteer at Migrant Detention Centers. There's No Good Reason for that Policy" (Video) Time, July 16, 2019
- "Trump's New Restriction on Asylum Seeker Violate U.S. and International Law, Experts Say"(Video), Time, July 15, 2019
- "Cruelty Is the Point: Communities Fight Back as Treat of ICE Raids Terrorize Immigrants Families (Video) ", Democracy Now , July 15, 2019
- "Trump plans ICE raids starting Sunday" (Video) AM Joy, July 14, 2019
- "CNN Anderson Cooper 360", (Twitter Feed Video), AC360, July 12, 2019
- "Congressional testimony" (Video) C-Span, July 12, 2019
- "Pick you role models wisley; mine is Elora Mukherjee", Mind the Gap Blog by Mrutyuanjai Mishra, July 12, 2019
- "What is happening to migrant children at US border facilities?"(Podcast) The Guardian, July 10, 2019
- "Migrant children held in Texas facility needs access to dotors, say Attorney"(Article), The Guardian, July 8, 2019
- "CNN Brian Stelter" (Twitter Feed Video), CNN Brian Stelter, July 7/2019
- "MSNBC AM Joy" (Video 1:50), MSNBC Joy Reid, July 6, 2019
- "Attorneys seek federal court order to allow public health experts inside migrant facilities (Video)," CNN | Anderson Cooper 360, June 26, 2019
- "US migrant children 'hungry, dirty, sick and scared' (Video)," BBC News, June 26, 2019
- "'Children Were Dirty, They Were Scared, and They Were Hungry,'" The Atlantic, June 25, 2019
- "Almost 300 migrant children removed from Texas facility described as 'appalling,'" NBC News, June 24, 2019
- "Immigrant Children Moved From Texas Dentention Center Because of Unsanitary Conditions" (Podcast), NPR,June 24, 2019,
- "'I Have Never Seen Conditions as Degrading and Inhumane': Scenes From the Border Camps," Jezebel, June 23, 2019
- "‘There Is a Stench’: Soiled Clothes and No Baths for Migrant Children at a Texas Center," The New York Times, June 21, 2019
- “NY1 Online: Immigration Under Trump,” The Time Warner Cable News NY1, November 16, 2016
- “Columbia Law School Rights Clinic Helps Immigrants Overcome Legal Hurdles,” METROFOCUS WLIW21, March 21, 2016