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), ILW.com, 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.

The ILRC’s DACA Team has put together a page-by-page form guide for anyone looking to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as an initial request. This annotated community resource provides insights into many of the questions asked of recipients when completing the forms needed to make up a complete application packet (forms I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS). As stated in the document, it is important that any individual completing their forms ensures that they are using the most up-to-date forms USCIS offers – otherwise they will reject your submission.
On March 16, 2021, ILRC and seven other coalition members of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) Strategy Group submitted recommendations to the Administration and USCIS leadership for equitable implementation of LRIF. The group requested a meeting with the government to discuss these recommendations.
ICE enforcement policies have changed under the Biden administration, and opened new opportunities to defend your clients from arrest, detention, and deportation.  This practice advisory from the ILRC, NIPNLG, and IDP provides immigration practitioners with an overview of the interim enforcement priorities and other key policy changes described in recent DHS and ICE memos, and discusses strategies to use these priorities to advocate for prosecutorial discretion.
In 2020 and 2021, USCIS changed its interpretation of discretion in adjudication of immigration benefits in three separate releases of policy manual guidance.[i] These chapters add voluminous positive and negative discretionary factors that adjudicators are instructed to analyze in more than a dozen types of immigration benefits, including many categories of employment authorization, adjustment to permanent residence, temporary protected status and change of status applications.
The Biden administration announced the designation of Venezuela for TPS, effective March 9, 2021 through September 9, 2022. TPS provides protection from removal, work authorization, and the option to request permission to travel abroad. The 180-day registration period is currently open through September 5, 2021. This advisory provides an overview of the requirements and application process for TPS for Venezuela. It also includes a brief summary of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuela which is also currently in effect through July 20, 2022.
Between 2014-2021, California advocates have blazed new trails, advocating and passing a state reform agenda that lifts up the needs of citizens and noncitizens.  This toolkit discusses some of CA’s crim/imm legislative reform efforts. Each section contains a discussion with the bill’s primary lead including reflections about compromises and mistakes we wish we hadn’t made. We include draft legislation, opeds, and media, to assist advocates across the country.
With USCIS now accepting requests for DACA from individuals who have never had DACA, it's VITAL that we understand how to put our best foot forward when compiling evidence documents and application forms. In this video Staff Attorney Veronica Garcia and Legal Outreach Coordinator Abraham Bedoy walk through everything you need to know to prepare to submit your initial application packet! 
We previously circulated a sample brief,  Using and Defending PC 1473.7 Vacaturs. But, at times, DHS continues to object to 1473.7 vacaturs. Thanks to Pangea Removal Defense Attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza and Immigration Attorneys Merle Kahn and Daniel Shanfield for agreeing to sharing their his recent redacted responses to DHS opposition. This briefing includes a response as to why the 2019 amendments to 1473.7 do not, in fact, turn the statute into a rehabilitative mechanism.
California immigrants who file taxes may now receive cash from the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). During COVID-19, immigrant families need support, and filing taxes may mean cash benefits for qualifying families. This community resource is designed to help answer the most common questions immigrant communities may have on the CalEITC. For more information on the CalEITC, visit CalEITC4Me.org.
Despite new state laws legalizing cannabis for recreational use, archaic U.S. drug laws still classify marijuana as federally illegal. Because immigration is governed by federal law, this means that noncitizens may face serious problems down the line if they are not aware of how their experiences with cannabis could impact their immigration journey. This video and accompanying infographic detail the specific risks associated with the use or possession of cannabis and/or industry employment.
This resource briefly reviews the February 18, 2021 interim ICE Memo issued by Acting Director Tae Johnson regarding how ICE will carry out DHS enforcement priorities. The new ICE guidance, effective immediately, will remain in effect until DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issues new DHS enforcement guidelines. This resource covers applicable enforcement actions, a review of the described enforcement priorities, and potential advocacy opportunities.
Certain criminal convictions are bars to eligibility for DACA.  However, if these convictions can be “expunged,” they will cease to be an absolute bar. Here, an “expungement” refers to any legal process where a criminal court can withdraw, erase, seal, or otherwise eliminate a conviction under a state statute, based on the fact that the person completed probation or other requirements, or for humanitarian reasons. Note that while DACA government materials call this an “expungement,” different state laws may use different terms for this kind of rehabilitative relief. An expungement is not given effect for most immigration purposes – but it does work for DACA.  For example, a misdemeanor conviction for driving under the influence is a bar to applying for DACA as a “significant misdemeanor.” If  the person has the conviction “expunged,” however, they are not barred from applying, and if they have enough positive equities they may well be granted DACA.
DACA has undergone turbulent changes since it was announced in 2012. Terminated and reinstated numerous times since, these changes have shown the urgent need to pass a permanent and inclusive legislative solution that will provide a pathway to citizenship not only to DACA recipients but their family members. In the meantime, the Biden administration must fulfill its campaign promise to protect DACA recipients and their parents. The ILRC collected 12 critical proposals from DACA recipients and legal advocates to ensure that any executive action regarding the DACA program aligns with our community values.
This resource is designed to help guide individuals gather the documents needed to file a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition. The guide provides information for individuals as they begin to gather needed documentation and evidence for their filings. Note that the guide is not a comprehensive explanation of the law or its requirements, but instead a user-friendly resource meant to help a self-petitioner learn what documents are necessary. The resource is divided into three sections of the documentation needed to prove eligibility for VAWA, how the self-petitioners can build a declaration and the information that should be included, and lastly walks individuals through where and how these documents can be requested.
As new applicants begin to set their sights on initial DACA requests, there are several questions worth asking and steps worth taking to prepare productively. This guide is designed to walk community members through eligibility and process for submitting an initial application for deferred action and employment authorization. For information on submitting a renewal DACA application, please visit our full application deep dive video here.
On November 14, 2020, a U.S. District Court found that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memorandum issued in July 2020 limiting the DACA program was invalid.  This decision restored the DACA program to its original 2012 form and opened up the possibility for first-time applicants, restored two-year renewals, and allowed for DACA recipients to submit advance parole applications.