Judge Thomas Y. K. Fong, United States Immigration Assistant Chief Judge in Los Angeles, spoke to students during an immigration law forum on Monday, March 21, 2016. The purpose of Judge Fong’s remarks was to inform students of the available opportunities to work in the immigration court and to detail the nature of the cases which immigration courts must hear.
Judge Fong explained that there are three kind of clerkships available with the Immigration Court: Voluntary Law Intern Program (VLIP) is a volunteer clerkship that can be done over a semester or the summer, Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP) is a summer-long paid clerkship, and the Judicial Law Clerkship is a two year paid clerkship available to students just out of law school. Judge Fong pointed out that SLIP clerks who do well during the program are usually offered a position in the two-year Judicial Law Clerk program. In the Judicial Law Clerk program, students spend their first year as judicial law clerks and their second year as an attorney advisor, in addition to mentoring law clerks. He encouraged students to apply to these positions, saying, “I’d really love to have more BYU Law students in the Immigration Court.”
To give students a taste of his work, Judge Fong described several cases he has ruled on in the Immigration Court. He invited students to assume the role of the defense attorney in these cases and asked them what they would do to find evidence and defend their clients. He also asked students to consider the cases from the perspective of the judge, demonstrating some of the challenges faced by the Immigration Court.