Elora Mukherjee

Elora Mukherjee

  • Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law
Education

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.

Publications

Honors and Awards

Influencer by Congressional Quarterly 2020

2020

New York State Bar Association Root Stimson Award

2020

Champion of the Children Award from Children of Bellevue

2020

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

2020

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

2019

Rutgers 250 Fellow

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

2016

Remarks and Testimony

Elora Mukherjee describes horrific conditions at the border

Activities and Affiliations

  • Director, Project Amplify
  • Founder and Director, Refugee Reunification Project
  • Director, Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project
  • Director, Warm Heart
  • Past Director, Fair Housing Justice Center

News and Press

Videos

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