Berkeley Immigration Group

Students in Berkeley Immigration Group (BIG) will have the opportunity to work alongside attorneys and other BIG members to provide legal services to immigrants. 

Students will be able to choose between several projects. Innovation Law Lab’s Anticarceral Legal Organizing (AcLO, formerly known as BorderX) involves reaching out to family members of detained immigrants and preparing bond/parole packets. The National Lawyers Guild’s Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP) involves attending immigration court proceedings (in person or remote depending on COVID and court protocols) to increase transparency and accountability.  This year, BIG plans on launching two additional projects. Centro Legal de La Raza will supervise students working on requests to prevent women at Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin (FCI Dublin) from being transferred to immigration detention after serving their sentence. The Public Law Center will supervise the development of a how-to-guide for pro se immigrants (Pro Se Guide) who wish to appeal their immigration cases.  There will be opportunities to work on projects independently or collaboratively. 

Each project comes with varying levels of commitment, ranging from flexible to firm. AcLO and ICOP commitment also depends on the amount of opportunities coming in from the supervising organizations. Participation in ICOP will not be capped. Participation in AcLO, FCI Dublin, and the Pro Se Guide will be capped. Applicants will be asked to discuss their flexibility and which projects they are interested in. There will be opportunities to work on projects independently or collaboratively. Students can also volunteer to get involved in fundraising efforts for immigration-related causes such as bond funds.

Supervising attorneys from Centro Legal de La Raza, Innovation Law Lab, National Lawyers Guild, and the Public Law Center 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, Innovation Law Lab, National Lawyers Guild, and the Public Law Center 

Time Commitment: Time commitment will vary depending on which projects students choose to participate in. However, members should expect to attend at least two two-hour training sessions in the fall semester, one collective SLP meeting per month, and a few project meetings. 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 berkeleyimmigrationgroup@berkeley.edu.