Supervising Attorney Michelle Assad with student attorneys Christopher Lange, Ericka Cruz, Maitland Allen, and Linda Campos
Supervising Attorney Michelle Assad with student attorneys Christopher Lange, Ericka Cruz, Maitland Allen, and Linda Campos

Immigrant Justice Clinic: Defending the AU Dream Initiative

A new Defending the AU Dream Initiative (AU Dream) – supported by a generous gift from William L. Jacobs ’66 – is supporting expanded immigration legal services provided by the Immigrant Justice Clinic (IJC) starting this academic year. Services under the new initiative include representation of undergraduate and graduate students on DACA and other immigration-related matters at AU and at other institutions in the DC metro area.

Michelle Assad ’13, hired in July as the new supervising attorney for the Defending the AU Dream Initiative, has gotten the project off to a great start. Early on in the semester, Assad and her students briefly introduced the initiative at an Interfaith Meeting held at American University’s Kay Spiritual Center. Soon after, under Assad’s supervision, IJC student attorneys Christopher Lange, Ericka Cruz, Maitland Allen, and Linda Campos organized and hosted two roundtable events in October with the support of AU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. At the roundtables, the students introduced AU staff and student leaders to AU Dream’s newly available legal services for undocumented, DACA-mented, and documented AU students. AU Dream also engaged staff and student leaders in discussions on immigration myths and explored common forms of immigration relief through case scenarios.

Thanks to these roundtables and AU Dream’s continued engagement with the university community and with other higher education institutions in the DC Metropolitan area, IJC is learning more about the needs of students and the importance of providing legal services to meet their needs.

AU Dream has already taken on several cases of students attending AU and a local community college. In late November, AU Dream will host its first DACA Renewal Clinic at WCL.

The Clinic plans to present the AU Dream model, including best practices and lessons learned, to other law school clinics and faculty at the upcoming Association of American Law Schools, Conference on Clinical Education.