A generous gift from Harry J. Seigle ’71 JD will strengthen Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s immigration law clinic, which represents children, young adults and parents in immigration court proceedings. The gift will name the Seigle Clinic for Immigrant Youth and Families and provide ongoing support for programming and operations as well as staff recruitment, retention and professional development.
The immigration law clinic has long been part of the Children and Family Justice Center at the Law School’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, which assists those seeking humanitarian protection due to violence, persecution or torture in their countries of origin. The clinic also works to keep families together by representing parents facing deportation and separation from their U.S. citizen and noncitizen children.
Law students play a vital role at the immigration clinic by interviewing clients, conducting investigations, drafting pleadings and motions, preparing legal briefs, and representing clients at hearings before the U.S. Justice Department’s Chicago Immigration Court and various agencies within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Through Seigle’s gift, the clinic intends to increase the number of immigrants it represents, especially in states that fall within the jurisdiction of the Chicago Immigration Court. It also plans to advocate for immigration reform and to improve access to services that help immigrants become more self-sufficient while they wait for their cases to be adjudicated.
“We are extremely grateful to Harry Seigle for this impactful gift endowing the Seigle Clinic for Immigrant Youth and Families,” says Hari Osofsky, dean of Northwestern Pritzker Law and the Myra and James Bradwell Professor of Law. “His generosity will make a critical difference in the Law School’s efforts to assist immigrants and provide our students with important learning and service opportunities.”
The Seigle Clinic for Immigrant Youth and Families is directed by clinical professor of law Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe ’96, whose areas of expertise include asylum and other forms of humanitarian status; removal defense; and unaccompanied child migrants. The gift also will provide funding to hire a second immigration attorney to increase the clinic’s capacity for handling cases. (Read more about Nzelibe in “A Beacon of Hope for Asylum Seekers.”)
Seigle made the gift in memory of his mother, Lora H. Seigle, who was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a Jewish refugee in 1936. “My mother’s life experiences inspired me to make this gift to improve legal services for immigrants,” Seigle says. “The idea behind e pluribus unum, ‘out of many, one,’ is central to my family’s heritage. Immigrants have helped make this country what it is today, and we are better for it.”