Immigration Law Students Association
Established in 2008, the Immigration Law Student Association (ILSA) at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has become a popular, well-respected and active club. ILSA bases itself around three goals: service, networking and education.
Because of the great need in the Tucson community, philanthropy has become the guiding principle of ILSA. There are many service opportunities for law students interested in immigration law or in helping those in the community who cannot afford legal services. Members work with Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, a local grassroots human rights organization, to staff a legal referral clinic that helps the immigrant community with employment, discrimination, and housing issues.
Throughout the year, ILSA also co-sponsors the Derechos Humanos-AILA Citizenship fairs, where, working alongside immigration attorneys, students fill out naturalization applications and start the process of applying for U.S. citizenship.
The club also hosts the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as it performs Naturalization Ceremonies at the law school —a unique opportunity to observe as immigrants achieve their hard-earned dream of becoming American citizens. Additionally, ILSA sends law students to volunteer with the Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project in immigration and asylum proceedings.
To fulfill the networking component, ILSA hosts mixers with local immigration lawyers and promotes job openings in the field to its members. The service opportunities also give students the chance to work with local immigration attorneys as they help clients.
Because of Tucson's proximity to the border, the club also strives to bring in speakers who are experts on the latest issues facing immigrants and immigration attorneys, often through co-sponsoring the Criminal Law and Immigration Speaker Series. Past speakers have been: U.C. Davis Dean Kevin Johnson; Garrett Epps, a leading scholar on the on birthright citizenship; Federal Public Defenders Heather Williams, Jay Sagar and Laura Conover on Operation Streamline; local attorney William Walker on civil disobedience at the border; attorney and alumnae Rachel Wilson on immigration law myths; and our own Bacon Immigration Law and Policy fellow Tomas Lopez on the impact of SB1070 on Arizona's youth.