The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) seeks to secure and expand legal protections for individuals from all over the world who are in danger of being returned to countries where they will face persecution, torture, or other human rights abuses. Our clients are often survivors of major conflict and upheaval and egregious human rights violations, and have a critical need for legal assistance. HIRC engages students in direct representation of such individuals and their families, promotes scholarship in the area of immigration and refugee law, and raises awareness about immigrants’ and refugee rights through advocacy, litigation, and academic programming.
What HIRC does
These are just a few examples of HIRC's activities.
- Harvard’s Immigration and Refugee Clinic Program is a leader in its field. HIRC is active in appellate and policy advocacy on local, national, and international levels.
- The U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have engaged HIRC in the training of immigration judges and asylum matters with regard to issues relating to asylum law.
- HIRC published the first major treatise on U.S. asylum law, The Law of Asylum in the United States. In addition, HIRC provides advice, support, and supplemental services to advocates around the U.S.
- HIRC students take the lead in representing clients from all over the world who are seeking protection from being returned to human rights abuses in their country of origin, protection from exile after years of living in the United States, or reunification with their families.
- HIRC’s director and supervisors are nationally and internationally known teachers, practitioners, and scholars who have published widely. Clinical teaching and instructional staff have received numerous bar association awards, including the prestigious Founders Award of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, for path-breaking work on behalf of women refugees.
- HIRC students and teaching staff have argued for the recognition of the family as a protected group before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as before circuit courts and administrative bodies.
- HIRC students and instructors have also drafted guidelines, eventually adopted by the U.S. government, detailing gender-specific human rights violations as a basis for asylum status under U.S. and international law.
- HIRC works with student groups, such as the Harvard Immigration Project, to sponsor speakers on a range of topics, including national immigration legislation, treatment of refugees in the Middle East, and detention and deportation.
Last modified: February 03, 2012