Areas of Expertise

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) immigration attorneys’ expertise focuses on family-based immigration, humanitarian relief, naturalization and citizenship, immigration enforcement, and removal defense.

Since 1979 we have helped expand the immigration expertise of attorneys, nonprofit staff, criminal defenders, and others assisting immigrant clients.

In addition to authoring the ILRC’s practice manuals, our expert attorneys have been published by Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA),, Huffington Post, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Center for Law and Social Policy, The Hill, LexisNexis Emerging Issues, and Fox News Latino.
We have also provided training to National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, Federal Bar Association, The State Bar of California, Legal Aid Association of California, Judicial Council of California and more.

On March 22, 2023, the ILRC sent a letter to USCIS acknowledging the implementation of biometrics flexibilities for domestic benefits applicants who live in remote areas. The ILRC commended the agency on its provision of flexibilities to ensure that all domestic applicants could continue with their benefits applications regardless of physical location in the United States. The ILRC further urged USCIS to expand these flexibilities to applicants abroad and highlighted the negative effects that consulate closures abroad have had on U and T visa applicants attempting to complete their biometrics abroad.
Immigration and crimes, or “crim-imm,” can be challenging.  Both immigration and criminal law are difficult on their own. To do crim-imm work, advocates who are expert in one area must learn at least something about law and procedure in the other. It can be hard to know where to start the analysis.
This advisory provides a step-by-step approach to help advocates analyze a case and identify goals. It can be used by criminal defense counsel, immigration advocates, and post-conviction relief counsel. It is not a substitute for consulting with a crim/imm expert, but using it should increase your expertise and help you to better discuss the analysis with the client, argue it to the judge or official, or negotiate with the other side.
This practice alert provides an overview of USCIS’s new policy on TPS travel, including a new travel document specific to TPS holders that replaces advance parole, rescission of Matter of Z-R-Z-C-, and clarification of the legal effect of TPS-authorized travel, especially for adjustment of status.
This guide provides a walkthrough of how individuals can submit a public comment whenever the federal government publishes a proposed rule that creates or changes existing policy. Many published rules, such as proposed changes to public charge or increases in USCIS filing fees, have an impact on immigration processes so it is vital for the public to share their feedback if they find they would be impacted if the proposed rules become law.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy guidance provides important information on how USCIS interprets these requirements and approaches T Visa adjudications. On October 20, 2021, USCIS added comprehensive policy guidance on T Visas to its Policy Manual. This practice advisory explores how these updates interpret the definition of a “severe form of trafficking in persons,” a key eligibility requirement for the T Visa.
On March 8, ILRC responded to a request for input from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on how to broaden public engagement with the public in the federal regulatory process. ILRC suggested that OIRA partner with community organizations to ensure that information is shared in the most effective way possible, including written materials and trainings. ILRC also made several process suggestions that OIRA can implement to reduce barriers to public participation.
On March 8, ILRC provided comments on the USCIS proposed fee rule. In the comment, ILRC commended agency actions codifying fee exemptions. Additionally, ILRC requested that USCIS codify fee waiver eligibility standards and raise the income threshold for fee waivers. We also requested that fee increases be reduced for applications for lawful permanent residence, work authorization and family petitions, among others. Finally, the comment provides requested changes to various USCIS forms that are open for comment in conjunction with the proposed fee rule.
Cannabis legalization has long been a growing theme across the United States, having a place in virtually every recent election cycle and in policy debates related to the federal government’s role in restricting its access, sale, use, and distribution. With many states moving to legalize cannabis for recreational use and with the Biden administration recently deciding to pardon individuals for certain federal convictions related to its possession, it may seem as though we are coming to the end of the cannabis prohibition era. Unfortunately, not only is that moment yet to arrive, but the dangers for immigrants, in particular, could not be higher. This downloadable guide walks through the current intersection of cannabis, criminal, and immigration law and also shares insights about what a pathway out of prohibition could look like.
On December 23, 2022, a new rule on public charge went into effect. The new rule reinforces longstanding policies on public charge that ensure families can access health and nutrition programs and many other benefits without fear. Not all immigrants need to worry about public charge since many are not affected and can receive any public benefit they are eligible for without consequences. This downloadable guide offers more information about whether public charge affects you or your family.
Special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) provides a way for certain young people who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by a parent to obtain immigration status. This practice advisory reviews the history of the federal regulations implementing the SIJS statute and then provides an overview of the new SIJS regulations, published in the spring of 2022. In the overview, the advisory highlights notable policy changes implemented through the new regulations.
On December 19, 2022, USCIS published updates to its Policy Manual on how adjudicators should assess applications under the Public Charge ground of inadmissibility. This guidance accompanies the new final rule on Public Charge which took effect on December 23, 2023. The guidance is mostly positive, solidifying and strengthening longstanding public charge policy. However, the ILRC provided suggestions to clarify implementation of the new rule and help USCIS achieve their goals of ensuring that the public charge ground of inadmissibility is applied clearly, consistently, and fairly.
In recent years, California’s appellate courts have provided guidance on the state court’s role in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases. The following decisions clarify many of the common questions that these cases present in state courts, including one-parent SIJS, notice and service issues, and the role of the state court
Federal Rulemaking is one of the most direct ways that the public can participate and shape policies and practices of executive agencies. Federal regulations govern the executive agencies charged with enforcing the United States’ immigration laws and granting immigration benefits to eligible applicants. However, the process of Federal Rulemaking is often misunderstood and public participation in the process is under-utilized. This practice advisory provides an overview of the federal regulatory and rulemaking process as well as the authorities that govern this process as well as a guide to commenting on proposed rules and practical tips for navigating the resources available to the public.
Each year, the ILRC distributes thousands of copies of our 23 manuals and provides legal assistance on more than 8,000 issues to pro bono and nonprofit advocates, as well as public defenders, through our national Attorney of the Day service. In any given year, our staff attorneys conduct hundreds of trainings, community meetings, and workshops. In 2021, the ILRC held 193 in-person and online seminars and webinars for almost 15,000 attendees and participants. The ILRC also leads meetings and workshops where thousands of immigrants are screened for legal options while learning about their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society. Since 2011, the ILRC, as the lead of the New Americans Campaign, has helped more than 560,000 immigrants complete their naturalization applications.
The Central American Minors program (CAM) is a hybrid refugee and parole program. It benefits minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who have a parent or legal guardian living in the United States under certain forms of immigration status. The program was first introduced in 2014, but was terminated in 2017 under the Trump administration. The Biden administration reinstated the program in 2021 and added new eligibility criteria. This advisory gives an overview of the CAM program including its refugee and parole components, as well as subsequent re-parole applications for existing parolees who wish to maintain their status. Although only a designated refugee resettlement agency may file an initial CAM application, other practitioners play an important role in screening for possible CAM eligibility to make referrals to designated agencies and in assisting current CAM parolees.
In September 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1766 – CA IDs For All – which expands standard CA ID eligibility to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. In this downloadable guide, we walk through this new law’s implications, the opportunities for immigrants living in California, how this differs from AB 60 and the REAL ID, and more.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has created opportunities for individuals to get protection from deportation, among other benefits, if they have suffered abuse from a spouse or certain family members. This brief overview walks through the immigration eligibility and benefits involved with VAWA.
This advisory contains general information shared by USCIS staff during the September 2022 stakeholder event. It contains notes compiled by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) VAWA, U, and T National Committee and reflects USCIS responses to questions posed by the committee and partners.
his fact sheet describes new Cal. Penal Code 372.5 (AB 2195). As of January 1, 2023, a California defendant who is charged with any of several drug offenses, from infractions to felonies, can ask for the drug charge/s to be dismissed and instead to plead guilty to being a “public nuisance” (Penal Code § 370). Section 372.5 provides that in this circumstance, the public nuisance offense is punishable as an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a “wobbler” offense, depending on the offense level of the drug charge that was dropped. The defense must decide to ask, and the prosecution must agree, to go forward with Penal Code 370/372.5.