Berkeley Immigration Group

Students will have the opportunity to work alongside attorneys and other BIG members to provide free direct legal services to immigrants or to provide research that will help immigration legal services providers. Students will be able to choose between three projects that aim to keep people out of detention centers and to see people reunified with their family members. BIG members may also have the opportunity to be trained in, and participate in, court observation at local Immigration Court.   

Students can choose to work on one of three projects (students can also work on multiple projects if they would like to). First, the Anti-Carceral Legal Organizing (AcLO) Project led by the Innovation Law Lab, a national nonprofit organization, through which students help with the preparation of bond/parole packets to help individuals currently detained in US detention centers be released to their family members. Students will also get the opportunity to work on other direct action and research projects supporting detained individuals.

Second, students can also choose to work with the Alternatives to Deportation Pipeline Project , a project supervised by the Bay Area nonprofit organization Centro Legal de La Raza. Students on this project work in small teams with a supervising attorney to prepare release request memoranda for incarcerated clients at 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 Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), which provides direct services to Black immigrants and advocates for immigration policies that would counter or undo anti-Black bias in the U.S. immigration system. Students would be involved in conducting research to help HBA document its impact and to help advocate for more equitable immigration policies.

Finally, all BIG students will have an opportunity to participate in the National Lawyers Guild’s Immigration Court Observation Program.  Students attend immigration hearings where individuals are unrepresented to show solidarity with these individuals and to participate in large scale data collection efforts designed to preserve the integrity of immigration courts.

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.

Supervising attorneys from Centro Legal de La Raza, Innovation Law Lab, and the National Lawyers Guild will prepare students for pro bono work through content and skills-based training. Supervising attorneys and BIG co-leaders will provide guidance and answer questions. BIG is also a community for law students to learn about the U.S. immigration system, the movement for immigrant rights, and career opportunities in immigration law.    


Supervision: Students in BIG provide legal services under the supervision of attorneys at Centro Legal de la Raza and Innovation Law Lab.

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