Berkeley Immigration Group

BIG (Berkeley Immigration Group) SLP Logo with monarch butterfly on top

Students will have the opportunity to work alongside attorneys and other BIG members to provide free direct legal services to detained immigrants or to provide research that will contribute to closing detention centers and holding the government accountable. Students will be able to choose between three projects that aim to keep people out of detention centers and end immigration detention. 

First, students will have the opportunity to work with the Anti-Carceral Legal Organizing (AcLO) Project led by the Innovation Law Lab, a national nonprofit organization. Students will engage in critical research related to advocacy efforts in particular detention centers that will play a vital role in advocating for shutting them down and holding individuals civilly liable for abuses.

Second, students can also choose to work on a release requests project supervised by the Bay Area nonprofit organization California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice. Students on this project will work in small teams with a supervising attorney to prepare release requests for incarcerated clients at the Federal Correctional Institution Dublin (FCI Dublin) who are at risk of being transferred to ICE detention centers after being released from prison, and/or to help incarcerated immigrants apply for U-Visas.

Third, students can also choose to work with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Group and their Credible Fear Interview Project. A few students will be trained on preparing recently detained individuals from the Texas border for their Credible Fear Interview, a critical step to claims for asylum and release from detention. These students will regularly have calls with individuals in Texan detention centers to prepare them for their interviews.

BIG is also a community for law students to learn about the U.S. immigration system, the movement for immigrants’ rights, and career opportunities in immigration law. Supervising attorneys and BIG co-leaders will provide training, resources, and mentorship to members interested in immigration law and working with immigrant communities. In addition to the current projects, there may be additional opportunities to participate in other projects independently or collaboratively as well as fundraising events, trainings, and lectures put on by BIG. 

Supervision: Students in BIG provide legal services under the supervision of attorneys at California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (, Innovation Law Lab.(opens in a new tab), and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Group (

Time Commitment: Time commitment will vary between 15-30 hours a semester depending on which projects students choose to participate in. However, members should expect to attend at least one hour-long project-specific training session in the fall semester, one two-hour collective SLP training session in the fall semester, and a few project meetings per semester. If members express a desire to work together or to socialize with members of other projects, BIG co-leaders can organize optional work sessions/meetings as well. BIG co-leaders will also host optional weekly office hours for students to ask questions and work together. We can ensure 25 hours before the end of the school year for students that will apply for the Edley Grant.

For more information, please contact the student leaders at