Immigration Clinic Holds All-Day Virtual Court Hearing in New Space

Students of the clinic litigated an all-day court hearing, the first of many court hearings to be held in the new, high-tech clinic conference room.
Immigration Clinic Holds All-Day Virtual Court Hearing in New Space
Immigration Clinic students

The Immigration Clinic's client, who came to the United States at the age of 13, faced deportation to Mexico. The clinic started working on the client's case in 2015, preparing it for a final hearing two times before it finally went to trial this year. 

Second-year students Sandra Lackmann and Kelsey McGonigle worked tirelessly to prepare their client's case, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence, writing two pre-trial memoranda on asylum and cancellation of removal, and preparing four witnesses, including two experts. In court, they faced off against opposing counsel, who represented U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

“After over four hundred combined hours of work on the case, day one of our client’s Individual Hearing gave us our first experience with direct examination of expert witnesses,” said Lackmann. 

The case did not finish and was reset for another hearing, during which the clinic’s client had to testify and endure cross-examination. Before the court case was completed, the U.S. government offered to settle the case and terminate removal proceedings. 

“We are honored to have represented our client in his deportation case,” said McGonigle. “We believe in his case and have worked very hard to present well-documented, compelling arguments to allow our client to officially stay in the United States after nearly 22 years of building his life, family, and community in Florida.”

Although most immigration court hearings are held in person, some judges appear exclusively through the video platform Webex. The technology in the new clinic space allows students to appear virtually in court.

Established in the fall of 2009, the Immigration Clinic provides a challenging opportunity for students to advocate for immigrants in various 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.

Read more about Miami Law's Immigration Clinic