Due to the availability of varied availability of in-state tuition, public and private scholarships, state-based DREAM Act laws and a growing Plyler population, there has been an increasing number of undocumented students (known as “DREAMers,” “DREAM Act Students,” or “Plyler children after the Supreme Court Decision of Plyler v. Doe) applying for, being accepted to and successfully completing law school.
However, the process is not always straight forward or easy and undocumented students face a wide variety of obstacles. The most notable of these obstacles is the ability to be accepted to and being enrolled in law schools. There is no uniform policy for private and public law schools across the United States regarding their admission policies for undocumented immigrants. Some law schools accept undocumented students while some law schools require legal status for admission and enrollment.
It’s important to make a key distinction between admission and enrollment because of different law school policies. Some law schools will offer both admission and enrollment to undocumented students, regardless of legal status. Other law schools will offer admission to undocumented students, but will require proof of legal residence or citizenship before enrolling those students. Other law schools will offer both admission and enrollment to undocumented students, regardless of legal status. And yet other law schools deny both admission and enrollment to students based solely on their legal status. For all intents and purposes, the practical effect of policies promulgated by the latter two types of law schools is the same: undocumented students cannot attend.
I conducted an informal survey of law school admissions policies through a combination of word of mouth, calling and emailing law schools and personal experience. Currently, this article only has information on a limited number of law schools, but hopefully this list will expand with time. If you are aware of the admission policies at a law school not listed below or belong to the admissions department of a law school, please feel free to contact me.
Of course, applying to law school is the end result of a process that starts with the taking of the LSAT, the standardized examination administered to all prospective law school applicants. Undocumented students are able to take the LSAT as long as they keep the following things in mind. I obtained all of the following information by speaking directly with the customer service department at the LSAC.
1. The LSAT provides a nine digit 999 number that allows foreign nationals, international students and undocumented students to take the LSAT. You simply have to go the LSAC website (http://www.lsac.org), register with the LSAC and then contact customer service via email requesting a 999 number.
2. The LSAT requires government issued, unexpired identification in order to take the test. The LSAT allows students to present a foreign valid passport or a Mexican Matricula in order to identify yourself on the day of the test.