College of Law > Academics > Experiential Learning > Legal Clinics > Asylum & Immigration

Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic

Since 1996, the Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic has provided students the opportunity to advocate on behalf of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers and to collaborate with immigrant-serving nonprofits. Additionally Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic students collaborate with immigration practitioners, many of them Clinic alumni, who are leaders in the field and who contribute to advancement of refugee and immigrant issues across the country. DePaul's Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic is an integral part of the wider immigrant advocacy community in Illinois focused on increasing access to justice for low-income immigrants and refugees.

Students in the Clinic have successfully represented asylum-seekers, reunited families, secured lawful status for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking and other crimes and have seen their clients sworn in as citizens.

In the Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, students learn about US immigration law, including US asylum law and have the opportunity to practice and develop lawyering skills including client interviewing and counseling, research and drafting, factual investigation and oral advocacy. Students have the opportunity to engage with practitioners in the field, DHS officials, Immigration Judges and congressional offices.  They receive training on trauma-informed lawyering.  They work with health care professionals, medical experts and academics from across the country.

Students may be assigned a range of case matters including asylum and other humanitarian benefits, family reunification, naturalization and deportation defense.  Students also may give presentations to community-based organizations on immigration law topics and provide assistance to immigrants held in detention.

The Clinic has a classroom component that meets for two hours a week for fourteen weeks over the course of the semester. The classroom component provides students with an understanding of the basics of immigration and asylum law. Additionally the classroom component provides instruction on advocacy skills and substantive immigration law to equip students to represent immigrants before the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) and other federal agencies.

Students may enroll in one of two sections of the Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic: one sections for those seeking an introduction to this field of practice and an advanced section for students with demonstrated experience in the field, including previous enrollment in Clinic.  Enrollment in the advanced section allows for students to work on progressively complex matters.  Further, the advanced section allows students previously enrolled in the Clinic the opportunity to continue representing clients.

Course Information

Instructor: Sioban Albiol, James Fujimoto​

Instruction: This course is a combination of lecture, in-class discussion, skills instruction, and direct client work.  

Number of Students: Up to 8 per semester.

711 License: A 711 license is not required to participate in the Clinic.

Prerequisites: None.

"My law school career has benefitted because the work we do in the clinic directly relates to various coursework. I've learned how to analyze cases more closely and understand the legal doctrines better. I definitely became a better student due to my participation in the clinic. The advice I have for future legal clinic students is to take every opportunity you can within the clinic and take it seriously. You are enacting change in someone's life and providing a service that they might not have previously obtained. This is great life experience not just because you are actively working on cases, but more-so because of your interactions with the clients. These people will teach you so much about who you are and what you want your career to be."             - Miranda, Asylum and Immigration Clinic Student

​"I cannot understate the positive impact that the Clinic has had on my career. I had not taken a single immigration law class when I began my first semester with the Clinic last spring. By the fall, I was confidently leading the work in many of my clients' cases. This would not be possible without the work Prof. Albiol and Judge Fujimoto do to ensure every clinician is prepared to represent their respective clients to the best of their abilities. ​" 
- Antonio, Asylum and Immigration Clinic Student

“Clinic in law school is like the residency of medical school – it’s where you get the opportunity to practice the skills and laws professors lecture about in class every day. Taking a clinic, especially the Immigration and Asylum Legal Clinic, is one of, if not the smartest decisions a law student can take in law school. Every day you learn something new and by the end of the semester when you look back on all you’ve learned you’ll be amazed by how much you thoroughly learned. When I first started the clinic, I couldn’t tell you 2 things about asylum law but now I feel confident to take on a case from start to finish. You also learn people skills, interviewing skills, analytical skills, administrative skills, etc. I feel what I’ve learned in clinic has definitely put me ahead of other classmates that intend on pursuing immigration. I wish someone had told me about clinics earlier in law school rather than me coming across it in an email among many emails. If you know what you want to practice post law school and DePaul offers a clinic in that matter, you’d be silly to not take the clinic. I only have good things to say about clinics offered at DePaul.”
-Alum of the Asylum & Refugee LaClinic
“Unlike in the traditional classroom, the Clinic provides students the opportunity to work directly with clients to build their asylum cases. You conduct interviews with the client to hear about his/her experiences in the home country. You write an affidavit illustrating those experiences and fears. You conduct research on what is happening in his/her home country. You collect documents to support the client’s story. You speak with experts to gain more insight on the conditions of the home country. In the end, not only do you create a product illustrating the client’s story, but you also form an invaluable relationship with the client. You are the person who listened to the client speak about his/her experiences and did something to convey that story.”
-Alum of the Asylum & Refugee Law Clinic

The Asylum & Refugee and the Immigration Legal Clinics work in building capacity for immigration legal services in collaboration with community-based organizations is supported by The Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, The Polk Bros. Foundation, the Illinois Funders Collaborative, The Julian Grace Foundation and the Chicago Bar Foundation. The Asylum & Refugee and the Immigration ​Legal Clinics also acknowledge Walking with the Poor which provides support for the Asylum & Refugee and the Immigration Legal Clinics' direct representation work.