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.

This resource, co-written with Detention Watch Network, answers common questions about the increased numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the border and the government’s opening of “influx facilities” and “emergency intake sites” in response. It also provides guidance for responding to a new facility opening in your community.
In Pereida v. Wilkinson, 141 S.Ct. 754 (March 4, 2021), the Supreme Court issued another opinion on the categorical approach, which is the analysis authorities use to decide whether a criminal conviction triggers removal grounds.  Pereida focuses on the “modified” categorical approach, which is how courts approach a conviction under a statute that sets out multiple, separate, offenses (a “divisible” statute). Pereida overruled Marinelarena v. Barr, 930 F.3d 1039 (9th Cir. 2019) (en banc).
This practice advisory reviews the general eligibility requirements for DACA, as well as issues advocates should look out for when determining eligibility.  There has been a lot of interest from community members and advocates in the DACA program since the program was reinstated by a federal court for DACA initial applications in November of 2020. This advisory offers information to guide advocates as they determine eligibility.
ILRC submitted these comments on December 18, 2020 to oppose the administration's dramatic expansion of USCIS guidance on how to assess whether someone has a “lawful admission” for purposes of naturalization eligibility under INA § 318. The updated policy guidance is an unwarranted directive to officers to engage in extreme vetting and unnecessary scrutiny of all naturalization applicants.
The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness  Act (LRIF) created a limited-term program allowing many Liberians living in the United States to apply for permanent residence. Initially, LRIF’s application period opened on December 20, 2019 and was set to expire on December 20, 2020. On January 3, 2021, however, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, extending the application period for LRIF for another year, until December 20, 2021.
In the summer of 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published two regulatory rules relating to eligibility for employment authorization documents (EADs) for individuals with pending asylum applications. Both rules went into effect in August 2020. This advisory provides a summary of the rules and the preliminary injunction currently in effect for members of Casa de Maryland (CASA) and Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP). The end of this advisory contains a helpful chart for quick reference, outlining current eligibility requirements for an EAD based on a pending asylum application, and which provisions are temporarily enjoined by the case Casa de Maryland v. Wolf, No. 8:20-CV-02118-PX, 2020 WL 5500165 (D. Md. Sept. 11, 2020), for certain organizational members.
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.