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.

Despite many changes to the DACA program, DACA recipients are currently allowed to travel abroad if they are approved for Advance Parole. This resource provides an overview of the requirements, tips, and considerations for traveling abroad under Advance Parole as a DACA recipient.
On July 28, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new memorandum that severely limited the DACA program. This announcement has left immigrant youth and allies working tirelessly to inform the community of the new changes and the rights DACA recipients have. This guide, prepared in partnership with United We Dream and Texas AFL-CIO, is meant to answer some of the most common questions regarding DACA recipients and their rights in the workplace.
This report provides a summary analysis of the ways that federal officials have consciously sought to politicize the naturalization process during the 2020 election year in what appears to be a novel form of voter suppression. The report also examines the potential impact of this novel form of voter suppression in closely watched states in the upcoming presidential election, and details immediate steps that federal officials can take to mitigate these harms, allowing tens of thousands of additional U.S. residents to become citizens in time to obtain the right to vote.
California is in the midst of an historic reform of its youth prisons, known as the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Failed DJJ facilities will close, creating an opportunity for youth to be cared for close to home through community-based programs and services. This short resource describes steps that community-based advocates must take to ensure that the closure addresses the needs of ALL impacted communities, including immigrant youth. 
AB 32, codified at Cal. Pen. Code §§ 5003.1, 9500 et. seq., was authored by Assembly member Bonta and passed in partnership with the California Dignity Not Detention Coalition. AB 32 stops the use of for-profit prisons by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The las also bans the operation of private detention facilities in both the civil and criminal context, aside from specific exemptions. The GEO Group and the Federal government have sued the state of California, alleging the law to be an unconstitutional attempt to regulate immigration enforcement, and requesting a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect. In October 2020, Judge Sammartino largely denied this request, largely finding the law constitutional. The ILRC, along with Human Rights Watch, and Freedom for Immigrants, submitted an amicus brief in this case. Litigation is ongoing. Select documents relevant to this suit are provided below.  
SB 29, the Dignity Not Detention Act, codified at Cal. Civ. Code § 1670.9, was authored by Senator Lara, co-sponsored by the ILRC and Freedom for Immigrants, and passed in partnership with the California Dignity not Detention Coalition.  Among other things, SB 29 was passed to ensure that the community would have a voice on an issue which so critically impacts them; immigration detention.  Prior to the approval of any permit for any immigration detention center, SB 29 requires that the public be provided with 180 days notice and two public hearings where public testimony is taken and heard. The ILRC and Freedom for Immigrants, in partnership with local community groups, have sued the City of McFarland and GEO whom we believe approved permits to convert two CDCR facilities into immigration jails in violation of SB 29. Litigation is ongoing. Select documents relevant to this suit are provided below.
USCIS attempted to drastically limit fee waiver availability and fee waiver standards through the 2020 fee rule. The agency also tried to limit fee waivers by changing the I-912 fee waiver form. For now, these attempted changes have been stopped by injunctions. Applicants can continue to apply for fee waivers based on the 2011 fee waiver guidance.
Breaking! Today, Judge Sammartino issued an order upholding the constitutionality of AB 32, People over Profits, which prohibits private incarceration in the state of CA. The judge largely denied GEO/US’ request to enjoin AB 32, and granted portions of CA’s request to dismiss GEO/US’ lawsuit. Regrettably, the court preliminary enjoined AB 32 as to private USMS facilities.
A cite and release policy is a directive to law enforcement officers to issue citations, tickets, or warnings for certain low-level offenses, instead of making arrests. This resource provides a general overview of cite and release policies, including the goals and benefits of cite and release, the components of a strong policy, the eligible offenses under Texas state law, and examples of local policies across Texas. 
ICE has changed the standard language for 287(g) agreements. This resource highlights and explains the most significant changes and provides a line by line comparison of old and new contracts. 
This sample community meeting PowerPoint slide deck can be used to help education and outreach workers present information about public charge to community members. The PowerPoint slides are notated with what you can say as you present. We also include Sample Audience Questions and Answers that education and outreach workers can use when responding to questions from community members about public charge.
In 2020 and 2021, the ILRC generated three distinct social media pushes on public charge and four “breaking news” graphics to educate the immigrant community on policy developments and related issues. In this resource, we share information on those pushes and links to the graphics on Instagram as inspiration for social media posts other organizations or advocates may wish to share or create, depending on their audience.
This community resource is a condensed explainer for anyone with questions about DACA, with a brief overview on who can apply, who can renew, and what the recent USCIS changes to the program mean.
For many immigrants, learning what their status is does not come into full scope until they apply for driver’s licenses, financial aid, travel documents, or other benefits that are a part of adulthood’s accompanying responsibilities. Regardless of one’s age, however, it is important that everyone understand the differences between the distinct categories recognized by the federal government so as to be well informed and exercise caution throughout daily life.
2020 has proven to be one of the most tumultuous years in recent history. We have struggled to survive a deadly global pandemic and faced a national reckoning on racial inequity and police brutality. Over the past four years, immigration enforcement tactics have continued to instill fear, and any protection policies have been decimated. Immigrant communities face the constant threat of deportation and essential immigrant workers, such as farmworkers, face inhumane and exploitative working conditions. As we think about immigration policy in the days and months ahead, we must reject the notion that certain community members can be treated as disposable. Our immigration policies must be guided by values that uphold the dignity of all immigrants and bring us closer to becoming the country we promise to be. 
In January 2020, the Committee for Review of the Penal Code began convening with the intent of putting forward wide ranging recommendations for reforms to the California criminal legal code. Understanding the significant impact of the process for California’s immigrant population, the ILRC has formally submitted recommendations, advice, and expert testimony as the committee engages in its deliberations. We will continue to update this site with our recommendations to the committee.
Across the country, states and localities are increasingly moving to end marijuana prohibition laws. For immigrant communities, despite the changing attitude toward marijuana-related conduct at the state level, an old conviction can still form the basis for immigration-related consequences at the federal level. Though federal legal reforms may be the only way to completely eradicate the immigration consequences of marijuana-related conduct and convictions, reforms at the state level can nevertheless help stop the arrest-to-deportation pipeline. Drawing from our experience with state and municipal efforts across the country, this resource, jointly produced by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the Drug Policy Alliance, lists best practices for municipalities and states looking to decriminalize in a way that lessens the immigration-related harms of marijuana criminalization.
A FOIA request can be an invaluable tool in immigration law to help an immigrant and their representative gain a complete understanding of one’s immigration history. This guide details how to complete a FOIA request for USCIS, ICE, OBIM, and CBP. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to complete Form G-639 and also  includes tips about alternatives to Form G-639, such as online submission options.
California is in the midst of an historic reform of its Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Under current plans, failed DJJ facilities will close, creating an opportunity for youth to be cared for close to home through community-based programs and services. But if DJJ closes, it must close justly. Any closure must divest from carceral solutions and invest in restorative and transformative justice rooted in community wellness and safety. Any closure must take into account the needs of all impacted communities, including immigrant youth. This resource highlights the two main ways that noncitizen youth may be impacted by the DJJ closure and makes recommendations to ensure that DJJ closes justly for all.