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 October 5, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in the Texas v United States case. In their decision, the Fifth Circuit agreed with Texas and found that the DACA policy is unlawful but sent the case back to the Southern District of Texas to consider the recently issued final DACA rule. The Fifth Circuit maintained the court order allowing those who are eligible to continue to renew their DACA and apply for advance parole while the case is pending. More changes and updates are expected around the DACA policy as we wait for a decision. This resource is a list of frequently asked questions to help community members navigate the changes to DACA.
Sample questions about the sheriff’s policy positions on working with ICE that advocates or community members can use at candidate forums or other meetings. For more background information about sheriffs and their role in the deportation pipeline, see:
ICE has built and expanded a massive infrastructure of immigration jails, surveillance programs, and enforcement agents. The current enforcement-centered response to migration, supported by ever-increasing Congressional appropriations, has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deportations each year. Over the last two decades, the budget for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which includes its account for immigration detention, has quadrupled. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, detention levels hit historic peaks of more than 50,000 people per day.
Consular processing is one of ways an individual can obtain lawful permanent residence. This process is often confusing and daunting to individuals who do not regularly work on these types of cases since the process is completed with a U.S. consulate abroad and involves interaction with several government agencies. This practice advisory provides an overview of the steps involved in a consular processing case and some considerations to keep in mind.
This practice advisory addresses what a practitioner can and should do when DHS submits an I-213 to prove “alienage” or any other facts in a case. After a brief discussion of the purpose of an I-213 and why DHS often submits it during removal proceedings, the advisory discusses objections that practitioners should consider making in order to exclude the I-213 from the record in removal proceedings or, at a minimum, to argue that the I-213 should not be given any significant weight by the immigration judge. It discusses how to overcome the presumption that I-213s are inherently trustworthy and concludes with a synopsis of when and how to submit a motion to suppress in cases involving regulatory or constitutional violations.
This practice advisory outlines the requirements and process of enrolling in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the first time.  It provides an overview of the basic requirements for TPS and identifies red flag issues that require careful analysis. It provides guidance on the TPS application process, including preparing a waiver of inadmissibility. It also offers practical guidance about when to file in immigration court and when an eligible individual may qualify for late initial registration.
On September 26, 2022, the Ninth Circuit en banc panel held that GEO group was likely to succeed in their lawsuit to find California's private prison and dertention ba (Bonta-AB 32) unconstitutional, and could continue seeking a preliminary injunction to block the law pending further proceedings at the lower court level. This summary provides a review of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ en banc decision. This legal breakdown was composed by the California Dignity Not Detention Coalition, with special thanks to NIPNLG and Pangea Legal Services.
California has strict confidentiality laws that govern when and to whom records from dependency and youth justice (delinquency) proceedings may be released. Immigration advocates need to be aware of these laws and ensure they are complied with when representing individuals with California juvenile records. This guide provides an overview of the law and practical guidance for how to handle issues of juvenile confidentiality before USCIS.
Because survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes are among the most vulnerable populations in the immigration legal system, numerous laws and policies have been enacted to protect the confidentiality of their information and restrict the disclosure of that information. One source of important protections is codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1367 (Section 1367), which restricts identification of survivors with humanitarian relief claims and disclosure of their information.[1] This practice advisory discusses the ways in which federal law has been designed and implemented to protect information concerning abused immigrants, the policy laid out by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies, and what advocates can do when the protection provisions are violated.
The final Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rule was published on August 30, 2022 and is set to go into effect on October 31, 2022. This rule is an attempt to “preserve and fortify” the DACA policy as directed by President Biden’s January 20, 2021, memorandum titled “Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” This practitioner’s guide delves into aspects of the rule and discusses the future of DACA considering the Texas-led lawsuit challenge to the legality of DACA now pending at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the current injunction barring the adjudication of initial DACA requests, and what to expect in the future.
Many undocumented immigrants are now eligible for Medi-Cal. This bilingual, two-sided flyer is meant to provide a quick overview of eligibility and key notes regarding the healthcare benefit. Included are also links for identifying registration directories as well as a national directory for free or low-cost immigration legal services.
ILRC commended USCIS on its recent extension of COVID flexibility policies through October 23, 2022. In addition, we suggested some new COVID-related policies to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic, including longer extensions of time to respond to notices and decisions, adoption of a mailbox rule for filing deadlines, and allowing waivers to proceed despite death of a qualifying relative.
On August 30, 2022, the Biden Administration issued a new rule on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that will incorporate DACA into the Federal Regulations. Since its announcement, several questions have been raised around who can access DACA now and what it means for all those first-time applicants who are waiting to obtain DACA. This community resource outlines key points for you to keep in mind as you navigate access to DACA now and when the rule goes into effect on October 31, 2022.
ILRC commends USCIS on the recent USCIS Policy Manual additions clarifying guidance on the unlawful presence bars. We further thank USCIS for rescinding Matter of Z-R-Z-C and updating its interpretation on the effects of authorized travel by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries. These changes will benefit affected applicants significantly, create clarity and consistency across adjudications, and help USCIS achieve its overall mission to uphold America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility.
In California, there are several state and local programs that help California families, including immigrants, meet their basic needs. These programs often play an important role by extending benefits to immigrants who are not eligible for federal benefit programs. This resource gives an overview of some of the public benefits that are available to immigrants in California to access education, healthcare, food assistance, and other important necessities.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center proudly honors outstanding individuals for their work on behalf of immigrants. Named after the late Congressman Phillip Burton, U.S. Representative from California (1964-1983), the awards recognize those who carry on Congressman Burton’s legacy in support of immigrant and human rights. The awards were created with the help of John L. Burton, former Chairman of the California Democratic Party. Phillip Burton’s brother, John Burton currently serves on the ILRC Advisory Board and was presented with the 2004 Phillip Burton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Immigration & Civil Rights. Through the Phillip Burton Awards, the ILRC honors those whose work in the areas of policy, advocacy, and lawyering has significantly advanced the civil rights of immigrants.
On July 14, 2022, the ILRC submitted a comment to USCIS about Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. ILRC requested that USCIS revise Form N-400 to be shorter and to request information that is only relevant to eligibility for naturalization. ILRC also encouraged USCIS to do away with its practice of re-adjudicating underlying forms at the naturalization stage – a practice that is burdensome in time and resources and discourages eligible Lawful Permanent Residents from engaging with the naturalization process.
These are two archived lists of policy wins the ILRC has been involved with: at a statewide level (particularly in California), and also at a national level through advocacy with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 
In 2016, California enacted California Penal Code § 1473.7, a post-conviction relief vehicle allowing people no longer in criminal custody to vacate legally defective convictions. Ever since, the ILRC has supported advocates to implement this law, including helping to defend the vacaturs from DHS attempts to erode its impact. In Arias v. Garland, a case currently pending before the Ninth Circuit, the court will decide whether 1473.7 should be given full effect, erasing the conviction for immigration purposes. The ILRC helped coordinate Mr. Arias’s amicus strategy and we offer his redacted merits brief as well as the extraordinary amicus briefs submitted in support so that they might help practitioners facing similar arguments. The briefing in the Arias case represents some of the most robust arguments for why 1473.7 vacaturs should be recognized, but we also include below the various prior briefs, advisories, and sample materials we have developed in the defense of the full reach of 1473.7.
Thousands of noncitizens in California are at risk of removal or cannot qualify for immigration relief because they have unlawfully imposed criminal convictions. The good news is that there are several options under California law to eliminate these convictions for immigration purposes, using post-conviction relief (PCR).  This Advisory can help advocates to identify which of these forms of California PCR may help your client, and direct you to more resources about how to obtain it.
The ILRC submitted a comment to USCIS requesting that USCIS clarify who may file an N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, and to prioritize applications for children who are close to turning eighteen and aging out of elibiblity for citizenship under INA Section 322.