Immigration Law and Policy
The Immigration Law and Policy Clinic (ILPC) provides legal services at the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Students in the ILPC explore systemic problems in the immigration enforcement system, such as racial and economic bias, law enforcement and accountability, hyper-incarceration and access to justice.
As part of the clinic, our student attorneys get hands-on, live-client experience in immigration removal cases and criminal cases with potential immigration consequences. They meet face to face with clients who are looking at a variety of legal, social and economic problems, as well as learn the resources that are (or are not) available. Many students are presented with the opportunity to litigate constitutional issues and questions of the remedies available for constitutional violations.
As a leader in practical experience training, the Immigration Clinic offers classroom learning, as well as supervision sessions with faculty, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Contract Detention Facility run by the GEO Group in Aurora, and the immigration courts in the detention facility and in Denver.
"I’ve learned quite a bit about the practical skills lawyers need—developing a theory of the case, gathering evidence, writing briefs, and going before an immigration judge. I’ve also learned about how to tell a story in a way that honors your client and about how powerful that can be."Allison Crennen-Dunlap Student Attorney, JD'19
Students enrolled in the semester-long Immigration Law and Policy Clinic (ILPC) will appear in immigration court representing indigent, detained clients in removal proceedings. Students will also provide consultations with student counsel in the Criminal Defense Clinic on the immigration consequences facing CDC clients. There may be additional opportunities for advocacy in post-conviction and/or federal habeas litigation, and in matters in which the ILPC will provide counsel and legal assistance to non-profit advocacy organizations pursuing policy or legislative reform or other non-litigation (or possibly litigation) matters. Students will learn and apply lawyering skills such as interviewing, client counseling, fact investigation, legal research and writing, oral advocacy, negotiation, policy advocacy, and preparation for, and advocacy in, contested hearings. Through the ILPC seminar classes and fieldwork, students will have the opportunities to explore systemic problems in the immigration enforcement system—particularly where immigration and criminal enforcement are conflated and entwined—such as racial and economic bias, law enforcement accountability, hyper-incarceration, and access to justice.
The Immigration Law and Policy Clinic offers you the opportunity to integrate professional ethics and values, legal theory, and practice by representing indigent, detained clients facing removal. You will learn the lawyering skills necessary to defend a removal case, including client interviewing, client counseling, negotiation, development of a case theory, researching and drafting various motions, fact investigation, and trial skills. The laboratory for learning will be the classroom, supervision sessions with faculty, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Contract Detention Facility run by the GEO Group in Aurora, and the immigration courts in the detention facility and in Denver. You will learn how to work with clients who face a variety of legal, social and economic problems and you will learn the resources that are (or are not) available. Many students will be presented with the opportunity to litigate constitutional issues and questions of the remedies available for constitutional violations. Students will learn how immigration and criminal enforcement have become entwined and may be called on to bring both criminal and immigration practice to bear on their clients’ legal problems. Cross-collaboration with the Criminal Defense Clinic will take place in the seminar component of the class and also, for many students, in the fieldwork component.
There are no prerequisites or co-requisites. Immigration Law, Crimmigration Law Seminar, Criminal Procedure, Trial Practice, Evidence, and Evidence Practicum are among the classes that are helpful but not required. A demonstrated commitment to immigration advocacy and/or public interest law is desirable.
ILPC students meet twice weekly in 100-minute seminar classes. In addition, students will be required to attend a two-to-three-week orientation. The orientation will consist of at least two full days of classes, followed by simulations and classes that will be arranged around clinic participants’ schedules. Students should expect to meet at least once daily as a class and to engage in significant out-of-class work as well during this orientation period. The purpose of the orientation is to introduce students to the substantive, procedural, and ethical aspects of the ILPC’s curriculum, and to familiarize students with SLO and ILPC procedures. Because ethical considerations require that all supervisors must have assurance of your competence and familiarity with the office before assigning any cases to you, attendance at orientation is mandatory.
As student attorneys, you will be required to abide by the professional responsibility rules that govern all practicing lawyers. Given the intensive time commitment of the clinic and the potential for ethical conflicts of interest, CDO students may not take on an internship, externship or any other experiential advantage course, including practicums, labs, unless given explicit authorization to do so. If you are employed (particularly in a legal environment) while enrolled in the clinic, you will be required to disclose the name of your employer and will need to take appropriate steps to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between your employer and the clinic.
Time & Credits
The Immigration Law and Policy Clinic requires a substantial time commitment. The clinic will be very intensive and you should expect to spend at least 25 hours per week working on client-related matters. This time commitment will vary somewhat with the ebb and flow of your client matters, and you may be required to devote considerable additional time as you prepare for significant events. In addition to the time spent serving your clients, you will spend at least four hours each week in class and at least five hours each week performing class-related work, preparation, supervision meetings with faculty, and other clinic assignments. For this reason and to avoid potential conflicts of interest, ILPC students may not take on an internship, externship, any other experiential advantage courses, or work while they are enrolled in the ILPC, unless given explicit authorization to do so.
Students in the ILPC will enroll for nine credits: 4 are in-class credits and 5 are out-of-class credits.