Mon Mar 30 2015   
Immigration Law Clinic

Deportation Defense

The Immigration Law Clinic provides legal representation to immigrants detained in Eloy, Arizona, and non-detained immigrants in Tucson, Arizona, in their deportation cases.  There are roughly 3,000 immigrants detained in Arizona on any given day, and most have no lawyer to represent them in immigration court.  Representing themselves is particularly hard for detainees given the complexity of the law as well as their limited ability to access information and communicate with the outside world.


Our clinic works in partnership with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, the Asylum Program of Arizona, and other organizations serving the immigrant community, to identify immigrants who could particularly benefit from the clinic's representation.

Students who take the clinic for six units work in pairs to represent an immigrant detainee in a “removal” (deportation) case.  They prepare all aspects of the detainee’s case, from drafting declarations and briefs to preparing witnesses, experts, and direct and cross-examination. The work typically culminates in a hearing before an immigration judge at the end of the semester. 

Our clients have included asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, and long-time permanent residents seeking humanitarian waivers of removal. We have represented immigrants from countries including Afghanistan, Mexico, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Nepal. 



Success Stories

Our victories include:


Success Story


Alexia Brooks (2012) and Edwin Molina (2012), prevented the deportation of a young man who has lived in this country since he was nine months old. He has three young U.S. citizen children and a legal permanent resident fiancee, and has never been back to Mexico since his arrival as a baby. In the photo above, our client is in the middle, holding the paper closing his deportation case. Edwin and Alexia stand on either side of our client, along with clinic co-director Nina Rabin, his three sisters, mother, fiancee, and infant son.


Molly Kincaid (2013) and John Champagne (2012) successfully represented an Ethiopian asylum seeker who feared political persecution if deported. She fled Ethiopia after enduring two lengthy periods of imprisonment and torture by the government due to her involvement in peaceful political protests. She was detained in the Eloy Detention Center for nearly nine months awaiting her asylum hearing. After her release from detention and asylum victory, our client remained in Tucson, and the clinic worked to ensure that her husband and two children could come to join her in this country.


Success Stoires


(Photo above)Rachel Corrigan (2012) and Lauren Pylipow (2012) successfully represented a family who needed a special waiver to keep their green cards and stay in this country legally. The mother and her two sons, now 20 and 21, were facing deportation after living here for over 14 years. The family had been victims of domestic violence and harassment by a U.S. citizen for years. With their legal status resolved, both sons now are able to continue their education. In addition, the younger brother continues his community service work on behalf of disabled children in Tucson, and the older brother is able to stay with his three year old U.S. citizen daughter.

This (center) client celebrated with her student representatives Laura Belous and Calvin Jones (both class of 2010) on the night she was granted a humanitarian waiver of removal and released from detention. She had spent over 13 months in Eloy Detention Center (Photo above). Laura and Calvin are standing with the client in front of a restaurant where they shared her first Vietnamese meal in over a year, before she returned to California to be reunited with her family.



Kristi Whitaker Trinks (Class of 2012) and Esther Brilliant (Class of 2011) won asylum for a woman from an African country who survived severe persecution, fled half way around the world, declared asylum at the border, and was detained in Eloy for over nine months. Kristi and Esther worked closely with an interpreter to build trust with our client, prepared extensive briefing for the court, identified and prepared expert witnesses, and handled all aspects of the hearing, including direct, redirect, and closing argument.



Rigel Massaro and Sohar Quinteros (both class of 09) assisted our client in applying for a visa based on extensive domestic violence that she suffered at the hands of her U.S. citizen spouse. They got her out of detention after nearly a year, and in this picture, sit with her at the bus station awaiting a bus to take her to be reunited with her family in Nevada. Kristi Whitaker Trinks (Class of 2012) helped in the final stages of her case.


Immigration Law Clinic students Joanna Gauguin and Linda Imonode (both class of 2010) represented a man from Afghanistan in his successful claim for cancellation of removal. Our client and his family had suffered horrifying atrocities at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. After spending months in detention, our client was finally able to return to his mother, sisters, and cousins in California.



Erin Simpson ('01) hugs Javier Guevara on a happy day for both. Ms. Simpson's work gathering documents and co-producing a videotape convinced the INS district director not to proceed with Mr. Guevara's deportation.


Click here to view the 20-minute video, co-produced for free by Desert Penguin Media, Inc.


Last Updated: 08/06/2012