Immigration Law Program

Immigrant swearing into U.S.Be on the Frontline of Immigration  

Located in a major immigration gateway to the United States, Miami Law offers both academic and experiential learning opportunities in the field of immigration, asylum, and citizenship law. Opportunities include studying migration from legal and sociological perspectives, learning business immigration law, getting invaluable first-hand advocacy experience in the Immigration Clinic advocating on behalf of immigrants in immigration court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal courts. Miami Law students get to be an collaborate with other immigrant rights groups on projects that reform the law and advance the cause of social justice for immigrants, and become an integral part of the wider immigrant and human rights advocacy community in South Florida and the nation.  Some statistics:

Thais De La CubaThe law school provided a great environment and the atmosphere and public interest opportunities that I was interested in. After taking Immigration Law with Professor Sharpless during my 1L year and then interning with organizations like Americans for Immigrant Justice and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in immigration law.” 
Thais De La Cuba, J.D. '15  
Asylum Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
Fort Lauderdale, FL  

Experiential Learning Opportunities

The Immigration Clinic teaches students how to advocate on behalf of immigrants facing deportation from the United States and engages in cases and projects designed to advance systemic change in our immigration system.

The Health Rights Clinic is a medical legal partnership operated in collaboration with the UM Miller School of Medicine. Students participating in the Health Rights Clinic represent multiple clients in legal cases related to health, including immigration matters.

The Social Impact Advocacy Practicum allows students, working in small teams under faculty supervision, to design and execute a systemic justice project framed by the principles and practices of social impact advocacy to address a “real-life” systemic problem of special interest to students. 

Courses* & Concentrations

Miami Law offers a range of immigration-related courses and seminars taught by our expert instructors, who include both scholars and practitioners. Courses have included:

Immigration, Citizenship, and Asylum Law Area of Focus

Advanced Immigration Litigation Seminar
Administrative Law 
Business, Sports, and Entertainment Immigration Seminar
Constitutional Law II 
Criminal Law
Democracy, Human Rights, and Immigration
Family Law
Health Rights Clinic
Human Rights Clinic 
Immigration Law 
Immigration, Ethnicity and Public Policy Seminar

Immigration Clinic 
International Human Rights Law 
International Law
Labor Law/Employment Law/Labor and Employment Law 
Substantive Criminal Law 
Topics in Citizenship and Immigration Policy 

For a sample courses of study, see the Immigration, Citizenship, and Asylum Law Area of Focus

Faculty Experts

Rebecca SharplessRebecca Sharpless is Professor of Law & Director of Miami Law's Immigration Clinic. She researches and writes in the areas of immigration law, progressive lawyering, and the intersection of immigration and criminal law. Professor Sharpless speaks widely on immigration law, including at academic symposia and events such as the annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Her areas of expertise include: Civil Litigation and Procedure, Immigration and Refugee Law, and Trial Advocacy and Practice.

Miami Law is also home to many world-renowned faculty who research, teach, and practice in the area of immigration and citizenship law. 

David Abraham, Professor of Law Emeritus
Ira Kurzban, Adjunct Professor
Romy Lerner, Associate Director, Immigration Clinic & Lecturer in Law
JoNel Newman, Professor of Clinical Legal Education & Director of the Health Rights Clinic
Kunal Parker, Professor of Law
Alejandro Portes, Professor of Sociology and Law
Rebeca Sánchez-Roig, Adjunct Professor
Irwin P. Stotzky, Professor of Law
Melissa Swain, Associate Director, Health Rights Clinic & Lecturer in Law

A complete faculty list and detailed bios can be found in the faculty directory.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Immigration Students Law Association (ISLA) - ISLA mobilizes students to work on immigration causes, organizes activities related to immigration law, and helps students establish networks to help them develop immigration law careers.

hope studentsHOPE Public Interest Resource Center HOPE hosts information sessions on jobs and fellowships in the area of immigration and makes immigration law volunteer opportunities available to students. Many Miami Law students interested in immigration law volunteer during law school at local nonprofits groups, including Americans For Immigrant Justice, Catholic Legal Services, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Opportunities are available during the summer as well as during the academic year. HOPE opportunities include:

  • HOPE Fellowship Program - provides summer stipends to students to create their dream jobs in immigration and public interest anywhere across the globe.
  • Public Interest Leadership Board a student-run board comprised of a dynamic group of Miami Law students dedicated to public service, including immigration.
  • Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program - Each year, HOPE selects rising 2L students with a genuine commitment to public interest work to work full-time at a local public interest agency, and do classroom sessions and a legal research and writing project.
  • Public Interest Miami Scholars are full-tuition scholarships granted to students with outstanding academic achievements and commitment to public service.

Immigration symposium group photoImmigration Lectures, Events, and CLE

Scholars and practitioners regularly visit Miami Law to give public lectures, attend conferences, and to meet with students and faculty. Events have included:

Defending the Human Rights of Migrants Lecture Series

Creative Strategies in Immigration Court and Litigation

Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Innovative Immigration Defense


Race & Social Justice Law Review 
Inter-American Law Review 

Sampling of Past Externships and Internships

students in D.C.Career Development Office (CDO): The CDO supports students at immigration-related placements, advises students looking for immigration-related work, and provides information on Post-Graduate Fellowships. Students interested in experiential learning for credit may pursue an immigration-related externship through Miami Law’s Externship Program. Past placements have included:

Americans for Immigrant Justice 
Catholic Charities Legal Services (Washington, DC) 
Colombian American Service Association, Inc. 
Florida Immigration Advocacy Center-FIAC 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement 
AICES’ Family Detention Services Program at Karnes County Residential Center (Karnes City, TX) 
American Bar Association Commission on Immigration (Washington, DC) 
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (Mexico City, Mexico) 
Executive Office for immigration Review, Krome Immigration Court  
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center-MIRC (Ypsilanti, MI) 
Texas Civil Rights Project (Austin, TX) 
The Community Justice Project, a project of Florida Legal Services, Inc. 
RAICES: D.C. Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service (Washington, DC) 
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights (Chicago, IL) 

Apply Now

*Lists courses currently or recently offered in this area, but this list is not exhaustive nor does it set out a path of study.