Northwestern's law school gets $5M gift to expand immigration services

An immigration law clinic at Northwestern University has received a $5 million gift to expand its services.

Harry Seigle, a 1971 alumnus of Northwestern’s law school, gave the money to the Seigle Clinic for Immigrant Youth and Families. It represents immigrants facing deportation or separation from families, and young immigrants in court proceedings seeking humanitarian protection from violence or persecution in their home countries.

The money will be used to hire a second immigration attorney and represent more clients, the school said.

The school said it expects the donation will help immigrants get easier access to basic services as they wait out their court cases. It also plans to spend some of the money on immigration reform advocacy.


"Recent headlines show that our asylum system is broken, and immigration remains a hot-button issue," said Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe, a clinical professor of law and director of the clinic. "This endowment … provides space where honest and informed dialogue on immigration reform can occur."

More than 150 students have participated in the program by interviewing clients, conducting investigations, drafting pleadings and motions, and preparing legal briefs. Students also have represented clients at hearings in the Chicago Immigration Court and before agencies in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the school.

Seigle said his recent was inspired by his mother, who immigrated to the United States in 1936 as a Jewish refugee from Germany.

"The idea behind e pluribus unum, ‘out of many, one’ is central to my family’s heritage," he said in a statement. "Immigrants have helped make this country what it is today, and we are better for it."