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. Students will be expected to devote at least 12 hours per week for 14 weeks. Students will interview clients, participate in trial preparation, and litigation strategy meetings, and assist the 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 or at the Immigration Court. Students will observe hearings in Immigration Court and may have the opportunity to represent a client before the Court. There may also be an opportunity to represent clients detained by the immigration authorities.
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. In addition, the seminars will 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 ethical challenges arising from client interviewing and representation.
This externship is open to third- (preferred) and second-year students only.