Immigration Law Clinic
In the Immigration Law Clinic students provide in-depth legal assistance to low-income clients on immigration matters, including VAWA, adjustment of status, specialized visas (U and T), as well as representation before the Immigration Court in removal proceedings. The Clinic has represented immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Egypt, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, and Russia.
A unique aspect of the Immigration Clinic is that students work on all phases of the case from the initial consultation to preparing the closing letters. Clinic students interview and counsel clients, as well as prepare declarations, legal briefs and supporting exhibits in their representation of clients before the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. Students also represent clients in adversarial hearings before the Immigration Court. The Clinic transforms students into skilled practioners ready for successful careers through the opportunity to work with many diverse clients and extensive training from talented faculty.
Each year the Immigration Law Clinic sponsors service learning opportunities to bring students, alumni, faculty and practitioners together in an enriching experience, serving hundreds. In 2012, the Clinic responded to intense community interest by assisting young undocumented immigrants obtain deferred action and work permits under a Presidential initiative (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). During five free community events the Clinic helped many young people brought to the United States as children. Events in prior years focused on assisting lawful permanent residents apply for naturalization.
"It's wonderful to give hope to people, to let them know they too can pursue their dreams. My work at the Immigration Law Clinic showed me that I can have a rewarding career in immigration law."
— Raissa Morris, '12, after winning anasylum approval for a battered young woman.
Blake Nordahl is a Certified Legal Specialist in Immigration Law by the State Bar of California, and he operated an immigration law practice for almost a decade. Nordahl is a former attorney advisor with the Executive Office for Immigration Review in San Diego and a dedicated public interest attorney supporting numerous community immigration events. He has inspired a number of clinical students to become immigration lawyers by his passionate and effective advocacy.
Raquel Aldana, a former human rights lawyer, founded and directs the Pacific McGeorge Inter-American Program, an innovative project committed to educating bilingual and bicultural lawyers who wish to pursue a transnational career. Aldana is a nationally-recognized scholar who has written extensively on immigration law, co-authoring a comprehensive textbook, Understanding Immigration Law. She teaches McGeorge's immigration law course. She cares deeply about helping our law students understand both the difficult legal and policy issues in immigration law and its profound effects on practice. She touches our students' hearts as well as their intellect.