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Students in the Immigration Clinic represent low-income clients seeking humanitarian immigration relief. The majority of the clinic’s clients are seeking legal status in the United States because of persecution or violence they have suffered either in the United States or in their home country. Immigration clinic students represent clients in their applications to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and before Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals. In some cases, depending on the client’s needs, there may be opportunities for related state court representation.

In the past, students have advocated on behalf of:

  • refugees applying for asylum based on a fear of persecution on account of their race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group;
  • immigrant survivors of domestic or sexual violence eligible for relief under the Violence Against Women Act;
  • immigrants eligible for U (crime victim) Visas;
  • immigrants eligible for T (trafficking) Visas;
  • unaccompanied minors eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status;
  • immigrants with claims to U.S. citizenship; and
  • immigrants with other claims for permanent residency status.

In all cases, students work under the mentorship and supervision of the clinic’s faculty member, but have primary responsibility for managing and making decisions in their cases. Accordingly, students develop an array of skills, including: interviewing and counseling; trauma-informed and culturally aware lawyering; investigating and gathering evidence; developing case theories; effective case management and correspondence; working with interpreters; witness preparation; negotiation; and written and oral advocacy.  Furthermore, as the client’s primary lawyers, students learn to exercise judgment in the face of uncertainty and problem-solve in the face of everyday challenges that pervade the practice of law. Thus, students who are in the clinic, including those who may not pursue immigration law, will have skills and experience that advantage them in any area of practice. 

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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