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Immigration Law & Policy Clinic

The state of Arizona is home to more than 700,000 foreign-born residents with about a third lacking immigration status.  Most immigrants live in what demographers call mixed families, where some family members are citizens while others are either permanent lawful residents or lack immigration status.  Spanish is the primary language in 25% of the households in Arizona.  The complexity of immigrant families and language barriers makes it very difficult for them to navigate public services and the immigration process.  The lack of sufficient immigration services in the state leave immigrant families unable to obtain basic information and legal representation. 

The Immigration Law & Policy Clinic, at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, seeks to address the current vacuum of immigration services in Arizona.  The Clinic collaborates with local non-profits, governmental agencies, other ASU departments, community advocates, and funders to identify and develop projects that address Arizona immigration challenges.

Clinical Course  

What Students Do:
  • Represent abused, neglected, abandoned children in immigration proceedings and state dependency
  • Draft motions, briefs, legal correspondence, closing statements, and direct examination questions
  • Provide brief consultations at legal fairs to individuals with immigration law questions
  • Research law and country conditions, interview and prepare experts/witnesses, investigate and document case facts  
Skills & Concepts Studied:
Interviewing, Trial Techniques, Legal Writing, Public Speaking, Statutory Analysis, Ethics, Research, Client-Centered Advocacy, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Community Lawyering, Popular Education, Legislative Process, Cultural, Social  & Linguistic Competency, Trans-Disciplinary Practice


  • Interested students must submit a completed an application form to Professor Cruz.  Priority given to students who apply before the end of open enrollment any remainder spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. 
  • Enrollment is limited to six students
  • Students receive six units of graded credit

Admission Results: 
Admitted students will be notified by Professor Cruz.
If the course is oversubscribed, the following preferences apply:
     1. In the fall, preference is given to third year and in the spring preference is given to second year students.

Returning Students:  
In accordance to the Clinical Program requirements, each semester up to two students from a prior semester may be invited to return as Clinic Veterans. 

There are no additional course requisites beyond those needed for Rule 38 Certification and  Spanish is NOT required.

Time Commitments:

  • Students meet 2x a week (Mondays, Wednesdays) for two hours during the first half of the semester for practical training
  • Weekly supervision sessions (scheduled per student/professor availability)
  • Each student covers the detained juvenile court calendar at least once. (Friday or Monday morning)
  • Each student provides consultations at legal fairs once or twice during the semester
  • Students spend 12 hours a week working on Clinic cases 

Our Mission

  1. Support the advancement of the clinic students; legal learning, social awareness, leadership capabilities, and ethical consciousness.
  2. Contribute to the betterment of all residents of Arizona through pro bono work, community education, research, and legislative advocacy.
  3. Foster and contribute to a healthy and informed dialogue on immigration policies.

Clinic Projects

The Clinic accepts a limited number of cases each semester for representation before the USCIS, State Juvenile Dependency Court and the Immigration Court in Phoenix, Arizona.  Because we can only accept a couple cases each semester, we only accept cases through referral from non-profit organizations.  In accepting a referral, the Clinic utilizes the following criteria:
o The case's legal merit, complexity of the issues, and opportunity to advance the law
o The availability of students to provide the legal services needed
o The appropriateness of the case for student representation
o The Client resources for obtaining representation

The Clinic will not accept cases that involve:

o Non-immigration matters (other than obtaining a dependency decree).
o Cases requiring civil action prior to commencing immigration proceedings (e.g. a TRO, Divorce, Custody Determination)
o Emergencies: Need for immediate representation (e.g. arrest following a raid)

Community Outreach:
Each semester ASU Law Students participate in one or two community legal outreach events sponsored by the Immigration Law & Policy Clinic and a community organization.  At these events students assist individuals with answers to immigration law questions and/or help completing immigration applications such as naturalization forms.  The Immigration Clinic also circulates to ASU law students, faculty, and staff information about community events relating to Latinos and immigrants in Arizona.
Note:  Students not enrolled in the Clinic yet interested in volunteering for community outreach events or translating should contact in order to be added to the Clinic’s mailing list.

Fact Sheet