Third-year Student Returns as Fellow for the Immigration Clinic

Alejandra Gonzales has advocated for increased access to services for detained individuals.
Third-year Student Returns as Fellow for the Immigration Clinic
Alejandra Gonzales

Alejandra Gonzales, a third-year student, returns as a student fellow at the Immigration Clinic. Last year, she helped organize a trip to conduct "Know Your Rights" presentations at a county jail holding people for immigration authorities. She successfully represented a woman from Haiti in her asylum case. This year, she returns to mentor new students in the clinic, work on a Florida Bar-funded project to increase access to legal services for detained immigrants, and help litigate a Freedom of Information Act case.

During the past spring semester, Gonzales helped to organize a group trip to Baker County jail to conduct legal information presentations, conduct legal screenings, and document conditions at the jail. With a grant from the Florida Bar, the clinic is now expanding its work at the jail, joining a coalition of groups concerned about poor conditions in the jail. 

Gonzales also collaborated with her clinic partner and supervisor to represent a client from Haiti in her asylum interview in person at the Tampa Asylum Office and ultimately got a positive result for the client. 

"Having the opportunity to research, strategize, argue, and represent a client at an Asylum interview was the best experience I had in the clinic," Gonzales said. "It is a rare opportunity for most law students." 

Gonzales noted the unique opportunities presented by the law school's location in a city that has a diverse immigrant community. Born in Lima, Peru, Gonzales moved to Miami at age five. The University of Miami clinic has allowed Gonzales to explore vast academic opportunities. Gonzales is the president of Miami Law's Immigration Students Law Association. 

"Being a student practitioner with the immigration clinic at Miami Law has shaped my law school experience," Gonzales said. "The clinic is modeled to allow students to define the course of their client's case.

Established in the fall of 2009, the Immigration Clinic provides a challenging opportunity for students to advocate on behalf of immigrants in a wide variety of complex immigration proceedings. In addition to helping individual clients, students collaborate with other immigrant rights groups on projects that reform the law and advance the cause of social justice for immigrants.