Mission: The New American Legal Clinic will prepare SJCL students for the practice of law, in any area of law, through a comprehensive experiential learning model while promoting SJCL’s dynamism, serving the needs of our local community and encouraging immigrant integration.

SJCL students enrolled in the Clinic will take on all major aspects of representing a client before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), including interviewing clients, preparing forms, analyzing and arguing complex legal issues, and attending USCIS applicant interviews. As the Clinic grows, we will expand our scope of practice to represent clients before the United States Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals.

While the Clinic will focus on immigration, students will gain practical skills and overarching values necessary to succeed in any field they pursue, legal or non-legal. This effort aligns with American Bar Association’s recommendations that law schools provide more opportunities for students to obtain real-life lawyering experience while in school, as well as SJCL’s mission: One Degree. A World of Options.

Students will be responsible for the following issues:

  • Naturalization Applications: Once a Legal Permanent Resident (“LPR”) has been in the country for at least five years and shows good moral character, the LPR has the option to become a citizen through the naturalization process. Students will provide naturalization workshops, as well as individual counseling, to assist in the process to obtain citizenship.
  • Family-Based Immigrant Visas: Family-based immigrant visas provide the way for spouses, children, and other family members of citizens, to immigrate to the United States. Students will guide families through this process and attend the final “interview” with the client at the USCIS office.
  • U-Visas: The U visa is available to non-citizens who suffer substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain criminal activity. To be eligible for a U visa, the victim must possess information concerning the criminal activity and be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. Students will help the victim obtain the required certification from a "certifying agency" certifying the applicant’s helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution, and guide them through the application process.