CUNY School of Law Immigrant Initiatives (CLII), established in 1997, affords law students a wide variety of opportunities to broaden their views on the role of a lawyer as well as their experience with immigrant issues.
Law and organizing: Through CLII projects, students are assigned to community-based organizations to support a variety of campaigns to improve conditions in immigrant communities. Students critically examine and carefully craft an attorney role most appropriate to further the specific goals of the community group. Students navigate through the natural affinity and tension that occurs when law and organizing combine. Project work has included courses to teach groups to prepare their own immigration applications, organizing campaigns, legal research, and complaint drafting.
Models of service: CLII offers community education and direct immigration counseling and assistance to foreign-born New Yorkers. Students work through public libraries, CUNY sites, City Council member offices and community organizations to provide workshops on immigrants' rights and to offer individual assistance with complex immigration matters. Students conduct an evaluation of individuals' immigration status and prospects and assist community members in filing or activating applications for U.S. status or citizenship. CLII provides quality pro bono assistance to hundreds of New York City immigrants in matters of naturalization, adjustment of status, criminal convictions, family petitions, political asylum, and special provisions for special immigrant juveniles, battered spouses and crime victims.