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 September 13, 2023, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas, ruled that the Biden administration’s final DACA rule, issued in August 2022, is unlawful. Judge Hanen previously ruled in July 2021 that the 2012 DACA memorandum, which preceded the rule, was. His earlier ruling was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but the appellate court sent the case back to Judge Hanen to consider whether there are any material differences between the DACA rule and the 2012 memo.

This Practice Alert goes over Judge Hanen’s latest ruling. It’s important to note that the amended order does not change the status quo. Current DACA recipients, or those whose DACA has lapsed for less than a year, can continue to renew their DACA and work authorization, as well as apply for Advance Parole. However, first-time DACA applications continue to be blocked and cannot be processed.
On September 13, 2023, a Federal District Court in Texas issued a ruling in Texas v. United States declaring that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rule is unlawful. It is important to note that while this judge once again found DACA to be unlawful, the decision does not change the current status of who is eligible to apply. This Community Alert walks through the details, as of September 18, 2023.
This advisory provides basic information on how to obtain the SIJS predicate order in juvenile court. It describes the benefits, requirements, and deadlines associated with SIJS, and discusses the role of the juvenile defense or children’s attorney in the process. It includes a sample SIJS predicate order from juvenile justice proceedings.
In December 2022 USCIS announced that it was starting a pilot project to redesign the English/civics test for naturalization. If the pilot test is adopted, applicants will face a more difficult English/civics exam. This community explainer breaks down some of those challenges, and how advocates can push for a more inclusive process of naturalization.
In June 2023, the California Dignity Not Detention Coalition passed a budget initiative in California called HEAL (Healthy Economies Adapting to Last). HEAL dedicates 5 million dollars to incentivize California localities to divest from immigration detention by providing them funding to invest in new industries and jobs. HEAL presents a new tool in our advocacy toolbox to close detention centers once and for all. This community FAQ breaks down Dignity not Detention’s newest initiative.
On August 23, 2023, ILRC submitted a comment on the proposed form that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will use to collect information from the public about suspected violations. ILRC opposes the use of this form as it allows for anonymous, un-vetted information to be the basis of investigations and has a high likelihood of being used by abusers, unscrupulous employers and landlords, and others to harass and target immigrant communities.
Each year, the ILRC distributes thousands of copies of our 23 manuals and provides legal assistance on more than 8,100 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, task forces, and workshops. In 2022, the ILRC held 286 in-person and online seminars and webinars for over 20,000 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 580,000 immigrants complete their applications for naturalization.
There is a new law in California that went into effect in 2023 called the California Clean Slate Act (SB 731). Under the Clean Slate Act, authorities will automatically expunge – or dismiss – certain arrests and criminal convictions. While expungement provides relief in the California state criminal legal system, it does not provide the same relief in the immigration context. This explainer walks through some key points about this new law and its implication for immigrants with prior contact with law enforcement.
This is the second part of a two-part practice advisory on how to effectively challenge an immigration judge's adverse credibility finding with the Board of Immigration Appeals. The two advisories should be read together, as neither part is complete on its own. This second part of the advisory discusses how to challenge adverse credibility findings based on a witness's demeanor or responsiveness; findings that are based on an immigration judge's speculation and conjecture, particularly regarding the plausibility of a claim; and determinations regarding a respondent’s corroborative evidence. It also flags special circumstances to look out for when appealing an immigration judge's adverse credibility finding.
On August 7, 2023, the ILRC provided a comment to a recent USCIS Policy Manual update seeking to clarify who is subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. In the comment, ILRC provided suggested language for both the Policy Manual and the Form I-485 that would help to further lessen confusion that practitioners and applicants are facing in this area. ILRC also recommended changes to the USCIS web site for Form I-485 to ensure that information is consistent and accurate for applicants.
Conviction of “obstruction of justice” is an aggravated felony if a sentence of a year or more is imposed. In Pugin v. Garland, No. 22-23 (June 22, 2023), the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit’s definition of obstruction, but failed to provide a clear definition of its own. Now some California offenses are likely aggravated felonies if there is a sentence of year or more, including Penal Code §§ 32, 69, 136.1, 148, Vehicle Code § 10851, and others.

This Advisory discusses California offenses under Pugin, and discusses California criminal sentencing dispositions that avoid a sentence of a year or more for immigration purposes.
The Central American Minors program allows qualifying children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to enter the United States and live here lawfully if they have a parent or legal guardian in the United States with certain kinds of immigration status. This fact sheet provides information on basic eligibility and where to go for help.