Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice

Waltham, United States
Joined September 2020

SCIJ provides representation for all asylum seekers by training college students to become immigration advocates, and to fight for a socially just immigration system and community transformation.

Presence in: United States
Focus: Citizenship & Identification, Other

SCIJ partners with colleges and universities to train undergraduate students to provide free legal representation to immigrants and to organize for immigrant justice. SCIJ runs the training program and operates the legal clinic; colleges provide the space, student recruitment support, and staffing help for their campus’s program.

Students begin in SCIJ’s Law & Immigration Training Program which provides a broad overview of immigration law, and qualifies them for accreditation with the Department of Justice. This accreditation allows trained non-attorneys to provide immigration legal services. We also train students in community organizing and advocacy. 

Trained students provide pro bono remote and in-person immigration legal services to asylum seekers. This includes intake, case development, and representing them in their proceedings. SCIJ’s remote immigration services program is made possible through partnerships with Innovation Law Lab and Al Otro Lado. For SCIJ’s direct representation work, SCIJ pairs students with immigration attorneys who then together work on an asylum case from intake to completion. Students take on about 80% of the work that goes into the asylum case with SCIJ providing support through case rounds, individual feedback, editing, etc. throughout the process. The partner attorney also provides feedback at key checkpoints and is the attorney of record on the case.

Fueled by the injustices experienced through students’ advocacy, SCIJ mobilizes students to organize their clients and immigrant communities for change on local issues, in addition to state and federal policy. This includes developing campaigns, training people to give testimony, organizing forums and workshops, and shifting power to immigrants to lead the fight for immigrant justice.