Immigration Defense Externship
Maria Navarro and Olivia Cassin, Lecturers-in-Law (5 credits)
Since the drastic changes in the immigration laws in 1996, non-citizens are facing a completely overhauled and complicated system of deportation. The Immigration Defense Externship is designed to introduce students to U.S. immigration laws and policies through a combination of lecture, discussion, simulation and representation of immigrants facing deportation from the United States.
Students in the externship will be placed with an attorney from The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit in one of the Unit's projects, providing direct representation and counseling to immigrants facing deportation. Students will also participate in a weekly seminar.
In the fieldwork placements, students will be expected to devote at least 15 hours per week for 14 weeks. Students will interview clients, participate in trial preparation and litigation strategy meetings, and assist their supervising attorney in all aspects of client representation, including researching complex legal issues and drafting memoranda of law. Students will conduct initial client interviews either in the Unit's Project in Washington Heights, at the Immigration Court or at a detention center. Students will observe hearings in Immigration Court and may have the opportunity to represent a client before the Court.
The weekly seminars will complement the students' fieldwork with a practice-oriented examination of the interaction between immigration law and criminal law. The seminars will also include trial preparation and strategy development, including developing a theory of the case. The seminars will also explore the government's policies in this area and its impact on the immigrant communities through class discussion and presentations by guest speakers from the media, the court, the government and other advocates. In the seminars, students will also have the opportunity to discuss their fieldwork, including the ethical challenges arising from client interviewing and representation.
The seminar portion of the course will be 2 credits and will be graded based on participation, level of preparation and attendance in the seminar and a 20-page paper. Minor writing credit is available. The fieldwork will be 3 credits and will be pass/fail. Performance in the fieldwork portion of the course will influence the grade in the seminar.
Enrollment is limited. Open to 3Ls (preferred) and 2Ls. Foreign language skills, especially Spanish, preferred. Exposure to immigration and criminal law preferred. Please send resume and short statement of interest by e-mail to: [email protected] or [email protected]. Applications are due at 5pm on April 7, 2014.