Professor Jean Reisz is the Co-Director of the USC Immigration Clinic, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law. In her role, Reisz oversees the Immigrant Legal Assistance Center, which provides free legal assistance to USC students, faculty, staff, and their families, in connection with immigration-related issues.
She talks about her work with the immigration clinic and new immigration-related undergraduate programming.
Q. Can you tell us about your work with the USC Immigration Clinic?
A. The Immigration Clinic houses several different clinics. We have the removal defense clinic which is a teaching clinic where second and third-year students represent detained and non-detained individuals in removal proceedings in immigration court under my supervision. The majority of our clients are seeking humanitarian forms of relief like asylum and protection under the Convention Against Torture. In our second teaching clinic, the Immigration Detention and Appellate clinic, second and third-year law students represent individuals in immigration detention in habeas corpus petitions for release from unlawful detention and also in appeals of their removal orders to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We also have our Immigrant Legal Assistance Center (ILAC) which is run by clinic staff attorneys where USC students, staff, contract workers and their family members get free legal consultation for immigration issues and we assist with DACA applications and renewals, citizenship applications, as well as other immigration applications.
Q. You will be teaching a new undergraduate course in the Fall 2021 semester, LAW 212: Immigration Law for a New America. Can you tell students what they can expect to learn in this class?
A. Students will learn the structure of immigration laws that are currently enforced, the policies that immigration seeks to advance, as well as the role the government plays in expanding or limiting immigration rights. We will examine the costs and benefits of immigration as it pertains to the U.S., its citizens, and immigrants and their families. I also hope that in teaching about the history of immigration law and how prevailing attitudes towards immigrants dictate policies and laws, students will be able to discuss the future of immigration reform, competing goals, and the role of international law.
Q. USC Gould also recently created a Law and Migration Studies Minor, can you tell us more about this minor and why you feel it is so important to offer?
A. Fundamentally laws regulate our communities, our interactions, our rights, and prescribe how we should behave towards each other. Immigration laws directly impact our communities at almost every level, from who a business may employ to a family’s ability to be together. On a larger scale, immigration law has consequences nationally and globally. Yet, immigration law is complex and often misunderstood. This minor provides an interdisciplinary approach, not only to learning and understanding immigration law and how it is created and enforced, but how it influences local and national policies including healthcare, housing, criminal justice, and labor, as well as international human rights and foreign policy.