Immigrant Rights Clinic

Students in the Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) represent individuals and organizations on a range of legal issues, including deportation matters, workplace exploitation, and the advancement of civil and constitutional rights for immigrants. Students work under the close supervision of experienced clinical faculty to provide scarce pro bono legal resources to defend immigrants who have been targeted by aggressive federal and local law enforcement initiatives. Immigrant communities have also been sites for innovative social and political organizing, and IRC supports that work by providing legal and policy analysis in support of advocacy campaigns.

IRC students must have either completed Evidence or be enrolled in Evidence.

Immigration Conference Sept. 12, 2014

Crisis of Counsel: Redoubling Efforts to Address Representation Gaps Facing Immigrant Children and Adults
UCI Law is co-sponsor with UCLA Law, Loyola Law School LA and Human Rights First of this conference, which will bring together key local, state, and national stakeholders to discuss this problem and brainstorm solutions.

Recent Projects

Students in recent semesters have:

  • Litigated and won wage and hour cases on behalf of immigrant hotel workers
  • Secured a U visa for a day laborer
  • Defended children facing deportation who were referred to immigration authorities by the Orange County Probation Department
  • Asserted a Convention Against Torture claim on behalf of a client in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Litigated a Freedom of Information Act case against ICE
  • Undertaken affirmative civil rights litigation on behalf of immigrants
  • Authored a practice advisory on expedited removal at the border
  • Conducted policy analysis and undertaken community education about the Secure Communities program and the referral of juveniles by Orange County to federal immigration authorities
  • Helped coordinate legal clinics undertaken by the Warehouse Workers Resource Center and the Orange County Dream Team


Case Materials

Core Competencies

All students handle at least one litigation case and one non-litigation advocacy project. Students work in teams of two or three on all clinic projects. With the permission of the presiding judicial or administrative officer, students serve as the primary legal representative for their clients in all hearings before state and federal courts and agencies.

Foundational Lawyering Skills: Students interview clients, undertake fact investigations, disentangle procedural rules, draft complaints and legal briefs, conduct direct and cross-examinations, and negotiate with opposing parties. Through both intense individual immersion and collaborative learning across clinic teams, students are assured of exposure to a range of skills and knowledge bases. 

Participatory Litigation: IRC contextualizes traditional legal skills in a participatory framework and students work with clients as collaboratively as possible.

Policy Advocacy: Modern legal practice requires basic policy advocacy skills, such as knowledge of legislative drafting, framing techniques, grassroots lobbying methodologies, and media advocacy, to complement litigation expertise.

Know Your Rights and Community Education: Students engage in know-your-rights and community education programs, especially ones constructed to be sustained by our community-based collaborators.

Lawyers and Client Mobilization: Students work with community-based organizers because lawyering alone does not advance justice. Through these collaborations, students explore the strategic and ethical challenges posed by a mode of practice that aims to mobilize clients, in addition to asserting legal rights and defenses on their behalf.

Strategic Judgment: As lead counsel on multi-modal advocacy projects, students participate and contribute to the development of social and economic justice campaigns on behalf of individuals and organizations.

In the News


Directors: Sameer Ashar, Annie Lai and Jessica Karp Bansal

Staff: Debi Gloria, Law Clinic Administrator

Phone: 949-824-9646
Fax: 949-824-2747
PO Box 5479
Irvine, CA  92616-5479