The Martin Luther King Junior Law School at the University of California, Davis is one of the few law schools in the country to prepare students to practice immigration law. There is an on-campus immigration law clinic there and the students receive real-life opportunities to gain experience in the immigration field. According to the immigration law clinic’s website, supervising attorneys guide the students, “to research and develop legal arguments, collect facts, write trial briefs, and prepare clients and witnesses. The students also prepare federal court challenges to conditions of confinement and custody and represent clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with cutting-edge appellate representation.”

Most of the students that participate in the immigration law clinic are given opportunities to defend immigrants that face detainment for unlawful entry. Some students even participate in challenging unjust executive orders signed by the current President of the United States, Donald Trump.

One of the major cases that students from the University of Davis School of Law immigration clinic made an impact on is Singh v. Holder. Law students from the University of California, Davis give testimony to defend Mr. Singh. Mr. Singh was in jail for about four years because of a minor felony regarding his immigration status.  Students challenged the due process violations and their efforts swayed the judge

In 2017, when Donald Trump signed the travel ban executive orders, law students from the immigration clinic commuted to San Francisco International Airport to represent the incoming travelers impacted by the ban. President Donald Trump ordered I.C.E. raids and the incarceration of many migrants causing separation and strife. Students and faculty from the immigration law clinic were at the forefront of the crisis lending a helping hand.

Currently, students from the immigration clinic travel mostly around the state of California to different detention centers to interview migrant children. They collect testimonies and evidence to help reunite them with their families and gain better care. Students document the horrid experiences and conditions that the children experience in these detention centers.

In February, I had the opportunity to hear Holly Cooper, the Co-Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis speak at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA. She spoke about the Flores Settlement which the immigration law clinic supports. The Flores Settlement Agreement requires the government to release children from immigration detention centers back to their families within 20 days and it requires the government to give the migrant children a certain quality of life.  No more kids cramped in cages without their basic needs being met.

As of September, the Trump Administration planned to nullify the Flores Settlement Agreement which makes immigration law more important now than ever. Although impeachment proceedings have begun, our current President has shown that he has no regard for human life. As a result, it is important to advocate for human rights. By treating people with dignity and respect when coming into the United States, we are truly the land of the free.

  • Gabriela Siller-Michel

    Gabi is an ABA Tutor who has a MPA from the University of San Francisco. She was an editorial fellow during the Fall 2019 cycle. In her spare time, she likes to bake the latest vegan desserts, go to a hot yoga class, and keep up on the latest trends in politics.