The Immigrant Rights Clinic: Celebrating 20 years of advocacy at NYU Law

The Immigrant Rights Clinic: Celebrating 20 years of advocacy at NYU Law


[Sarah Cullinane ’12] The Immigrant Rights Clinic was one of the most transformative educational experiences of my life. It is an incredibly collaborative clinic, students workshop each of their cases together, spend hours and hours and hours working on briefs, coming up with creative legal arguments, and really taking on the issues that no one thinks you can win, and the clinic is, you know, not afraid to take them on. [Samah Mcgonah Sisay ’18] I loved the Immigrant Rights Clinic. I loved the community that we had, I
loved my client and her family, and I loved the professors. [Alina Das ’05] I can’t say that when I was a student in the Immigrant Rights Clinic I ever could have imagined
that I would be teaching it, that I would be co-directing it with Nancy, who was my
professor. She taught me so much about what it means to be a tenacious advocate, what it means to leave no stone unturned for our clients. [Jessica Rofé ’14] You can see that people practice the law a specific way because they’ve been taught by Alina and Nancy. Everybody staples the envelope to a document in the same way, and it’s like, “Nancy told me never to throw an envelope away because you never know when that postage date is gonna be really important in any litigation,” and you can just see how we all carry with us some of those instructional lessons throughout our careers. It’s really wonderful to see how many clinic alums
are around in the immigrant rights space. [Sarah Cullinane] The IRC diaspora is vast and really just an amazing community to be part of. I run into IRC alums in immigration court, when working on municipal ID policies, in conference calls discussing how to
respond to the latest attack on immigrants from the federal government. [Omar Jadwat ’01] The Immigrant Rights Clinic is really central both in terms of the work that it’s doing at any particular point in time but also because of how it has
seeded, right, it’s created this army of people who have gone out and really built all
these other institutions and helped to staff and lead them. [Nancy Morawetz ’81] It’s really
unbelievable after 20 years to look back at the students in the clinic and all
the unbelievable things they’ve achieved. I’m just incredibly proud of all of the
Immigrant Rights Clinics at other schools that have been started and are
headed up by graduates of this school, the defender offices where former
students are going into detention centers and representing people in
really the worst possible situation in their lives, and the students who are out there doing impact work as soon as some new policy
happens, be it the travel ban or the new ban on asylum seekers, or the termination
of temporary protective status, there are graduates of this clinic leading up
efforts at all kinds of organizations around the country, and so it’s really
amazing to sit back and think, you know, these people who are doing so much in
the world were once second year law students in this clinic.


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