The Berkeley Immigration Group (BIG) is a community-based student pro bono legal services project at Berkeley Law that seeks to bridge the representation gap for non-citizens held in immigration detention. We also endeavor to hold the San Francisco Immigration Court accountable in providing due process rights to non-citizens in detained proceedings before the court. Our group has four components: immigration court observation, Know Your Rights trainings, detention outreach, and the creation of a community bond fund.

The BIG Leadership Board is composed of three Berkeley Law students: Mattie Armstrong, Xiaolin Chen, and Francesco Arreaga. Members of the Leadership Board manage the organization and contribute to the creation and promotion of the group’s projects. In addition to the Leadership Board and existing members, we accept new members from Berkeley Law during the fall and spring semesters. Our organization is one of several Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) at UC Berkeley, School of Law. SLPS are volunteer-based, pro bono organizations founded by Berkeley Law students. Lisa Knox, Immigration Managing Attorney at Centro Legal de La Raza, acts as supervising attorney for BIG and its various projects.

We also coordinate our efforts with the Berkeley undergraduate student group, R.I.S.E., and our community partners. Our community partners include the Immigrant Liberation Movement, the Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund, the Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights coalition, Centro Legal de La Raza, the San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLGSF), and Pangea Legal Services. These community members help with advocacy efforts, advertising, and operation of our bond fund.

For more information on BIG, please e-mail us at berkeleyimmigrationgroup@gmail.com.