Immigrant Defense Initiative

The NYU Immigrant Immigrant Defense Initiative (IDI) serves the immigration-related legal needs of NYU students and employees, and their immediate family members. IDI provides free, confidential legal consultations and representation before immigration court and agencies.

IDI is a project of NYU School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, under Washington Square Legal Services, Inc., and NYU University. IDI was created in 2017 as a response to President Trump’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the Travel Ban, which seriously affected the NYU immigrant community.

IDI Serves

  • NYU students at all schools and graduate levels

  • NYU employees (including faculty, staff and contract-based employees)

  • and the immediate family members of the above (parents, siblings and spouses)

IDI provides representation in the following immigration matters:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initial applications and renewals
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) initial applications and renewals
  • Asylum
  • Legal Permanent Residency
  • Citizenship
  • Employment Authorization Requests
  • Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
  • Humanitarian visas (trafficking (T), crime victims (U), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA))
  • Representation for those in removal proceedings in immigration court
  • Legal consultations for non-US citizens who have had contact with the criminal system, such as an arrest or conviction
  • Legal trainings, including Know-Your-Rights presentations
  • Advocacy within NYU to support with financial or housing needs
  • Foreign travel monitoring for those affected by the Travel Ban, or who are at risk of being denied entry to the U.S.
  • **IDI does not provide legal assistance for any employment-related cases such as visas (immigrant or nonimmigrant, such as H1B, etc.) or employment-related adjustment of status, change of status, or extension of status.**

IDI Team

  • Gabriela Calahorrano, Esq.
    IDI Staff Attorney

  • Noelia Rodriguez
    IDI Program Coordinator

  • Alina Das, Esq.
    Professor of Clinical Law
    Co-Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic

  • Nancy Morawetz, Esq.
    Professor of Clinical Law
    Co-Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic

  • Jessica L. Rofé, Esq.
    Deputy Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic

NYU Immigrant Defense Fund

The NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative (IDI) provides free consultations and legal representation to NYU community members, including students, staff and their immediate family members. Among its many initiatives, IDI helps dozens of community members apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  Since the creation of DACA in 2012, the program has been under constant attack. Most recently, the U.S District Court of the Southern District of Texas issued a decision finding DACA unlawful but allowing DACA recipients to continue renewing their work authorizations. 

Gathering the funds to apply for renewal has often been difficult, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from crucial safety net programs, application fees for DACA have become particularly difficult. We are writing to ask you to consider contributing to the NYU Immigrant Defense Fund to help cover these fees for NYU community members and support DACA recipients. All money raised through this fund will be used to help cover immigration application fees for NYU community members. Our goal is to raise $10,000 by March 2024. This will allow us to cover the cost of applications for 20 NYU community members. Every dollar you donate will put us closer to our goal of keeping immigrant families together!

CLICK HERE to make a contribution now (be sure to specify your contribution is for the NYU Immigrant Defense Fund under “Other Designation”). If you have any questions, you can contact the NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative at or 212-998-6640.