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Immigration Law and Policy Clinic 2023 Highlights

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Sturm College of Law

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American flag with immigration services sign and gavel

Eight students enrolled in the University of Denver’s Immigration Law and Policy Clinic (ILPC) this year, continuing the ILPC tradition of representing people from communities of color who face harsh immigration consequences, including detention while their cases are pending due to prior contact with the criminal legal system. The ILPC is representing six clients detained at the private prison run by the GEO Group in Aurora, Colorado, who speak four different languages, as well as two clients who students successfully sought release for during the last academic year.

ILPC student attorneys conduct in-person visits with their clients in order to interview and counsel them, engage in collaboration with other attorneys and experts, investigate facts, and conduct extensive legal research to argue zealously for our clients’ release from detention and/or relief from deportation. ILPC student attorneys regularly appear in immigration court.

student attorneys in law classroom
ILPC student attorneys at work at the Sturm College of Law

Building on expertise from representing individual clients, the ILPC engages in a variety of policy projects at the intersection of criminal and immigration law on the local, state, and federal levels. The ILPC also continues being responsive to emerging needs in Colorado’s immigrant communities. To that end, teams of students attended a community workshop for asylum seekers in rural northeastern Colorado. The clinic is also hosting a first-of-its-kind community workshop for Venezuelan community members in Colorado who are newly eligible for Temporary Protected Status.

Finally, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law and ILPC Director Elizabeth Jordan recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Freedom of Information Act for failure to respond to multiple requests for information filed by former clinic students Jenny Granston  and Sydney Johnson seeking information about the death of Melvin Calero Mendoza, an asylum seeker who unexpectedly died in ICE custody at the private prison in Aurora in October 2022. Current ILPC student attorneys are studying the death to make policy recommendations about the detention system, including closing that facility due to the risk it poses to detained people’s health and wellbeing. 

Faculty Highlights

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Elizabeth Jordan
“Law Prof Says ICE Denying Info On 'Healthy' Man's Death,” Law360 (October 17, 2023).