Immigration Clinic - Students

In the Immigration Clinic students have the primary responsibility for preparing cases from start to finish – from an initial factual investigation through to a final merits hearing in an adversarial setting. (Students do not need to be certified by the Florida Bar as certified legal interns in order to appear in court.)

Courses

The Immigration Clinic's classes focus on substantive law, legal ethics, and structured discussions about clinic cases while also developing lawyering skills and case strategy. A critical component of the class is participation in mock and moot exercises aimed at developing core abilities like interviewing, counseling, and courtroom skills.

Time Commitment

  • This clinic is a two-semester, 6 credits in-house, live-client clinic.
  • Casework and supervision: Students are required to spend an average of 3-4 hours per credit per week on clinic related casework, weekly supervision and class.
  • Class Requirement: Clinic class meets for one hour and twenty minutes twice a week.
     

Prerequisites

Successfully Completed 32 Credits

Immigration Clinic Information Session - Spring 2024

Why This Clinic? Student Perspective

Representing Live Clients

Hear from various Miami Law students as to why representing live clients in the Immigration Clinic was one of their most fulfilling law school experiences, and why through the clinic in particular:

"We really work with a lot of people who have a real need, we're really their last resort ... before they're deported from the United States."

Sandra Lackmann's Experience with the Immigration Clinic

Alejandra Gonzales' Experience with the Immigration Clinic

Benjamin Brooks' Experience with the Immigration Clinic

Accordion Group

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  • More Student Videos

    Amelia Anderson's Experience with the Immigration Clinic

    Kelsey McGonigle's Experience with the Immigration Clinic

    2Ls Talk about their hands-on experiences at detention centers and in the courtroom

Meet the Current Immigration Clinic Student Interns

Alexandra Buroz Morales is a 2L student born in Caracas, Venezuela. She spent her last summer working at a personal injury law firm called Kogan & Disalvo. On campus, Alexandra is a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association. Currently, she is working on preparing a detained client for an individual hearing. Earlier in the semester, she gathered evidence and wrote an argument for a client seeking to return to the United States after being deported.


Andy Co is a 2L student originally from the Philippines but raised in Seattle. Over the summer, Andy was a research assistant for Dean Rebecca Sharpless and worked at Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. doing complex litigation. He is also a Public Interest Network mentor, Secretary of the Student Bar Association, President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, a Student Ambassador, and part of the International Moot Court Program. Andy's work in the Immigration Clinic has included drafting a brief for asylum and relief under the Convention Against Torture for a client in removal proceedings, researching and contacting expert witnesses, and preparing for an individual hearing.


Angelo Gomez is a 2L student from Miami, Florida. Last winter break, Angelo volunteered at Catholic Charities legal Services where he drafted motions for upcoming asylum and cancellation of removal individual hearings. Last spring break, Angelo volunteered at ProBAR in Harlingen, Texas, preparing asylum applications for pro se applicants. Over the summer, Angelo interned at the Legal Services of Greater Miami's Tenants' Rights Unit drafting answers and motions for clients in eviction proceedings. Angelo is a Miami Public Interest Scholar and a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board. Angelo's involvement in the Immigration Clinic includes working on an asylum case for a client in removal proceedings with an upcoming individual hearing.


Ashley Nuñez is a 2L originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL. During the Summer of 2023 she served as a Summer Public Interest Fellow with Americans for Immigrant Justice based in Miami, FL. As an intern with the AIJ Detention Program, she focused on removal defense, asylum, and discretionary parole and release requests. As an Immigration Clinic intern, Ashley is working on the asylum case for a client detained at Baker County Jail who is in removal proceedings with an upcoming individual hearing.


Diana Alonso Roth is a 2L student born and raised in Miami, Florida. Over the summer, she worked for Beltran Brito Casamayor LLP, an immigration law firm that focuses on business immigration. In addition to being an intern at the Immigration Clinic, she is also a Junior Staff Editor for the Inter-American Law Review. Diana’s work with the clinic has included filing motions, filing a request for evidence for an I-601 Waiver, and preparing a detained client for her upcoming cancellation of removal individual hearing.


Diego (Kiki) Rodriguez is a 2L student from Miami, Florida. He graduated from Wake Forest University and began law school in 2022 after working for JFG law firm in Puerto Rico in 2021. Last summer, Diego clerked at MasTec where he worked on construction contracts, legal research, and document review. With the Immigration Clinic, Diego is currently aiding clients in matters of asylum, withholding of removal, and the Convention Against Torture. Fun Fact: In 2017, Diego was crowned the Florida state champion of rock paper scissors. He considers it one of his greatest accomplishments.


Emily Gafcovich is a 2L student from Miami, Florida. During the summer of 2023, Emily interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in the Human Trafficking Unit researching legislation and advocating for victims of crime. As part of the Immigration Clinic, Emily is working with a client in removal proceedings to prepare for an upcoming individual hearing in April, as well as a writ of mandamus for a client with a pending naturalization application.


Gianna Balli is a 3L student from Miami, FL. Her first summer, she interned at a plaintiff’s litigation firm working on personal injury and products liability matters. Last summer, Gianna interned at a boutique real estate firm in Miami. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of CABA and the Executive Editor of the UM Business Law Review. As part of her work with the Immigration Clinic, Gianna will be representing a client in removal proceedings in an upcoming individual hearing this fall.  


Henry Gonzalez is a 2L student from Miami, FL. Before joining the clinic, Henry interned at the Miami-Dade courthouse for Judge Thomas Rebull, where he gained valuable experience and learned about how the legal field functions. His involvement with the clinic has included conducting intakes for people who are detained at Baker County Detention Center, drafting and filing a mandamus petition, drafting requests for prosecutorial discretion, as well as attending a master calendar hearing for one of his clients.


Jodi Lewis is a 3L student from South Florida. During law school, she worked at a local immigration firm, Nero Immigration. Jodi is the president of the Child Advocacy Family Law Society and sits on E-board of two other student organizations, ACLU and DSLA. Over the summer, she worked at Cherry Bekaert, an accounting firm, in their Nonprofit Tax sector. After graduation, Jodi will continue work in the government and public services sector through accounting services. In the Immigration Clinic, she is working on cancellation of removal and asylum case for a client in removal proceedings with a merits hearing in the fall.


Kelsey McGonigle is a 3L from Kansas City. Since November 2021, Kelsey has been volunteering with the ACLU of Florida working on the Florida Detention Database, a compilation of complaints from individuals detained in Florida gathered to raise awareness and support efforts to shut down immigration detention centers in the state. She also interned with the ACLU as an Immigrant Rights Law Clerk during Spring 2023. During summer 2022, she served as a HOPE fellow with Oasis Legal Services in Berkeley, California, working on affirmative asylum applications for LGBTQIA+ immigrants. As an Immigration Clinic Intern, Kelsey worked with her partner on the asylum and cancellation of removal case for a client in removal proceedings with a merits hearing in Fall 2022, and worked with a team of interns to successfully litigate a withholding of removal case for a client formerly detained at Baker County Detention Center in Spring 2023. She is currently exploring business immigration as a Summer Associate (Extended) with Fragomen. She is thrilled to return as an Immigration Clinic Fellow this year. 


Kira Mikes is a 2L from Miami, Florida. Prior to law school, she worked as a legal assistant at Kurzban Kurzban Tetzeli & Pratt, where she assisted with the preparation of immigration petitions, as well as with removal defense and federal litigation matters. She is currently serving on the Public Interest Leadership Board and holds executive positions with the Mental Health Collective and Disability Law Student Association. This past summer, Kira served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Office of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender. As a clinic intern, she is working on a federal mandamus case and representing a client in removal proceedings at a master calendar hearing in the fall.


Krishtine Loaiza is a 3L born in Panama City, Panama, and raised in Miami, Florida. Over the summer, Krishtine worked as a law clerk at a private criminal defense firm in Miami. Currently, she is the Chief Notes and Comments Editor for the Race and Social Justice Law Review, a board member for the UM Law Trial Team, and an intern at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office. As an Immigration Clinic intern, Krishtine focuses on helping clients with cases intertwined with criminal law. She is currently working on an asylum and withholding of removal case for a client.  


Rachel Lopez is a 3L from Coral Springs, Florida. Last summer, Rachel worked at Jeffrey Law where she worked on drafting motions and conducting legal research for family law cases. Currently, she is a volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem program where she helps children and youth in the foster care system. She is a member of the Cuban American Bar and Hispanic Law Students Associations. As part of the Immigration Clinic, Rachel is working on an asylum, cancellation of removal, and adjustment of status case.


Sandra Lackmann is a 3L originally from North Carolina. Sandra graduated magna cum laude from the Ohio State University in December 2018 with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish and a minor in Human Rights. She was a National Buckeye Scholar and student of the Honors College. Sandra  completed undergraduate internships at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Ayuda, and the Ohio State Center for Latin American Studies. Following graduation, she worked for a private immigration firm in Columbus, OH, focusing on complex removal defense, consular processing, and waivers. During her 1L summer, Sandra clerked at Catholic Charities Legal Services, working on deportation defense and asylum cases of unaccompanied refugee minors. Sandra was a student intern with the Immigration Clinic her 2L year. She and other students successfully litigated a final removal hearing for a torture victim in immigration detention, with the judge granting the client Withholding of Removal, a form of humanitarian protection requiring a significantly higher standard of proof than asylum. As a 3L, Sandra now serves as a Student Fellow with the Immigration Clinic. 


Shawnna-Kay Johnson is a 2L and LLM student born and raised in Jamaica, where she is a barred attorney. Over the summer, Shawnna worked as a law clerk at a boutique insurance litigation firm in North Miami where she is currently employed. As an Immigration Clinic intern, her work includes an asylum, withholding, and Convention Against Torture case for an LGBT asylum seeker and drafting a writ of mandamus due to delays in a client’s naturalization application.


Sissi Lopez Diaz Jensen is a 3L student of Cuban origin, raised between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Miami, Florida. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Sissi successfully completed an internship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in Washington D.C., researching immigration policy issues crucial to the Latino and Cuban community. Since beginning law school, Sissi has clerked with a local boutique law firm specializing in family law and domestic violence matters. She has also volunteered with the ACLU of Florida to monitor treatment of immigrants in detention centers throughout Florida. Since joining the clinic, she has been working on a cancellation of removal case for a client currently detained. 


Ummul-Baneen Jafry is a 2L student born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised between both Florida and Texas. Over the summer, she worked as a legal intern in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, focusing on policy work. Since January 2023, she has been volunteering with the ACLU of Florida to compile complaints regarding the treatment of immigrants in detention centers throughout Florida. As an Immigration Clinic intern, Ummul is working on the removability, asylum and cancellation of removal case for a client in removal proceedings, with a merits hearing to take place in the fall.


 

See former student interns

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