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 June 20, 2023, the ILRC submitted a comment to USCIS regarding the proposed changes to From N-400, Application for Naturalization. ILRC commended the agency for a number of positive changes that streamlined and shortened the form. ILRC also made several suggestions to USCIS to clarify and narrow the information required from applicants to ensure that only relevant information is collected on the form.
U nonimmigrant status, commonly referred to as a “U visa”, is a form of immigration relief available to people who are survivors of certain crimes that happened in the United States. This guide serves as a walkthrough of the different benefits granted when approved for a U visa – and those that are granted while an application is pending.
With the future of the DACA policy hanging by a thread due to litigation, DACA employees are wondering whether they can continue earning a living if they were to lose their work authorization. This Community Alert, produced in partnership with Immigrants Rising, lists some policy ideas that employers can implement to continue to support their employees if DACA were to end.
The prison industrial complex is a highly adaptive mechanism that is constantly shifting to sustain itself. In recent years, the movement against mass incarceration has gained traction in reducing penal incarceration in the United States. In this report in collaboration with the Detention Watch Network, we detail select case examples of jails and prisons that closed for one purpose, only to cage a different group of people. The case studies demonstrate the importance of looking ahead to strategies which ensure that cages remain closed for all carceral uses, once and for all.
This practice advisory addresses FAQs related to current public charge policy including definitions and applicability of the new 2022 rule, use of benefits and other government programs, exemptions, affidavit of support and sponsor questions, and bond.
On April 19, 2023, the ILRC sent a letter to USCIS commending the agency on several changes to the USCIS Policy Manual and practices. The letter acknowledges the agency’s updates to civil surgeon signatures on Form I-693, the inclusion of additional gender markers on forms, clarifications on filing deadlines, and the flexibility for special immigrant juvenile applicants to file Form I-360 in person if they are in danger of aging out of eligibility. These changes are welcome improvements to existing guidance and practices and the ILRC encourage USCIS to continue to make further changes to improve the applicant experience and efficient use of agency resources.
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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.
Our ILRC Texas team continues to stand alongside Texans to oppose the harmful and unconstitutional Operation Lone Star (OLS). This sign-on letter, drafted by the ILRC and signed by nearly 80 local, state, and national organizations, urges Texas officials to say “no” to two harmful bills, HB 7 and HB 20. These bills would codify OLS, promote racial profiling, and fuel anti-immigrant rhetoric that threatens our communities. The ILRC and the nearly 80 organizations that signed this letter support Texans who are demanding protection from these dangerous bills and from Operation Lone Star.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides protection and work authorization to nationals of certain countries designated by the United States due to armed conflict, natural disasters, and other emergencies. This community explainer walks through the latest matters related to country designations, key dates, and eligibility with a focus on TPS holders from six countries that were targeted for termination by the Trump administration and whose protections have been extended while a case in federal court is pending.
Undocumented individuals who have U.S. citizen children often ask when and if their child can help them obtain their Lawful Permanent Resident status. A citizen child who is over 21 years old can begin the process for a parent to get their Permanent Residence card, often referred to as a green card. However, the process can be complicated and any parent seeking a green card through their child needs to carefully consider certain things before they move forward. This guide provides a brief explanation of this process, what is needed for a son or daughter to help their parent(s) obtain status, and some considerations to keep in mind as you explore this process.
In this resource – updated to reflect significant changes to the Visa Bulletin that will impact special immigrant juveniles beginning in April 2023 – we discuss the visa backlog for youth applying for a green card through special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). We discuss how to determine when your client may apply for a green card and provide practice tips for representing youth seeking SIJS who may face a long wait before they are able to get a green card.
On March 27, 2023, the ILRC submitted comments on the Biden Administration’s proposed rule that would impose a rebuttable presumption against eligibility for asylum for those who transited through a third country before arriving in the United States. The ILRC detailed concerns with how this rule will essentially ban a large number of asylum-seekers from relief and how the rule impermissibly restricts the due process rights of asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been fraught with uncertainty in the last couple of years. Despite the many advantages of this program for young people who have grown up in the United States, DACA continues to suffer attacks by conservative entities who argue that DACA was an overreach of executive power, with the most current legal challenge pending in Texas. Because of this, it is important to consider what other long-term options DACA recipients have and what benefits they can acquire while maintaining their DACA deferred action. This practice advisory will first over some options to consider when screening DACA recipients, like some new developments in deferred action grants, and how it is important to screen for parent immigration petitions and applications.
Cancellation of removal under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) is an often overlooked form of relief for noncitizen survivors of abuse who are faced with removal proceedings. Compared with cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents (“non-LPR cancellation”), VAWA cancellation is usually a more generous, lenient option for many survivors. In addition, unlike spouse self-petitions, there is no deadline to apply for cancellation after a divorce or loss of immigration status by the abuser, and abused adult sons and daughters are eligible for cancellation without age or marital limitations. This practice advisory introduces and provides an in depth review of each eligibility requirement for VAWA cancellation, discusses the applicable evidentiary standard, and considers procedural issues and strategies useful in immigration court as well as issues arising after an immigration judge issues a decision. Included in this practice advisory is an appendix with a side-by-side comparison of three forms of immigration relief often available to survivors in removal proceedings: VAWA cancellation, VAWA self-petitioning and adjustment of status, and non-LPR cancellation.
California immigrants who file taxes may now receive cash from the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). As the negative effects of COVID-19 continue impacting immigrant families, many are in need of support. Filing taxes may mean cash benefits for qualifying families. This guide provides a brief summary of what CalEITC is and who can benefit from it.
This resource provides an overview of the process of traveling on advance parole and returning to the United States through a port of entry. For those granted permission to travel on advance parole, the return process can be intimidating and confusing. We’ve outlined ways to prepare for travel under Advance Parole and tips to make the process as smooth as possible. 
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.