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.

"An Overview to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status," excerpted from ILRC’s new publication Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children & Youth. (Excerpted from Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children & Youth.)
This practice advisory contains numerous practical examples to assist in understanding how to recapture and retain priority dates in the family immigration context. It includes discussions and examples of how this concept intersects with other provisions of law, such as the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), and adjustment of status under § 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A brief discussion and summary of the utilization of cross-chargeability of priority dates is also included.
On January 25, 2022, the ILRC submitted comments in response to the DHS Notice Requesting Comments on “Identifying Recommendations To Support the Work of the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families.” Our comments urge the U.S. government to stop criminal prosecutions for migration, admit wrongdoing and compensate the victims of family separation under the Trump Administration, curb enforcement and detention in the absence of meaningful opportunities for people to gain immigration status, rescind harmful border policies and practices, and expand the interpretation of family unity to ensure that children are not separated from both parental and non-parental caregivers.
What are ICE detainers, how do they affect a criminal case, and how can counsel get rid of them?  This advisory walks through all the legal and practices issues around ICE detainers, including the role of ICE in issuing them and the role of local or state jailors in responding.  We discuss the importance of incorporating ICE detainers into pre-trial strategy, the legal and constitutional issues implicated by ICE detainers, and the various ways to challenge or rescind a detainer.  This advisory is national; it identifies various different state laws affecting ICE detainers. 
On December 21, 2021, the ILRC submitted comments raising concerns on the form that ICE plans to utilize to allow the public to submit tips on suspicious or criminal activity. ILRC raised concerns with ICE’s use of this form given the high likelihood that information submitted will be unreliable or outright false, which has the potential to significantly harm immigrant communities. Particularly at risk are communities that have been historically targeted for hate crimes and targeted by ICE for discriminatory purposes as well as domestic violence survivors and immigrant communities already vulnerable to exploitation. The comment urges ICE to discontinue the use of this form.
Black people and other communities of color, including immigrants, have faced decades of overpolicing, criminalization, and incarceration in Texas, often for alleged conduct that does not mandate an arrest or even carry jail time in the state. One way to effectively reduce arrests is to pass a local cite and release policy. This advocacy toolkit gives local organizers and advocates in Texas the tools they need to lead a successful cite and release campaign. We have included many helpful resources, samples, and insights for every step in a cite & release campaign – from initial education, research, and data collection through policy implementation.
DHS issued new enforcement and prosecutorial discretion guidance on September 30, 2021.  This practice advisory from the ILRC, NIPNLG, and IDP provides immigration practitioners with an overview of the 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.
DHS issued new enforcement and prosecutorial discretion guidance on September 30, 2021.  This practice advisory from the ILRC, NIPNLG, and IDP provides criminal defense practitioners with an overview of the 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.
On November 18, 2021, the ILRC submitted comments making recommendations to USCIS regarding the agency’s proposed regulation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. ILRC focused on recommendations that address the need for USCIS to create standards within this regulation to ensure equitable and consistent treatment for DACA applicants.
On September 28, 2021, DHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The proposed rule seeks to codify DACA and while this presents real opportunities, there are serious problems with the rule in regard to the criminal bars to DACA, in particular the elimination of expungements for DACA purposes. See proposed rule here. 
On November 5, 2021, the ILRC participated in comments to USCIS with the Naturalization Working Group concerning proposed revisions to the N-648 form for Medical Certification for Disability Exception for naturalization applicants. The form revisions overall represent an improvement over prior versions by shortening the form and eliminating irrelevant questions. The comment also  urges USCIS to withdraw 2018 – 2020  changes to volume 12 of the USCIS policy manual that continue to unnecessarily limit eligibility for disability waiver  applicants.
The ILRC, along with 96 international and national organizations, urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt the use of denaturalization, a racialized and criminalizing tactic to determine who belongs in the United States.
 The proposed DACA regulation presents serious problems and real opportunities. See the regulation at 86 Fed Reg 53736 (Sept. 28, 2021), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-09-28/pdf/2021-20898.pdf. 
On October 19, 2021, the ILRC submitted comments raising concerns about USCIS’ proposed regulation changing the procedures for credible fear screenings and asylum. While the proposed regulation contains some provisions that would improve the current system, it also poses a significant risk to asylum seekers’ right to a full, fair and consistent hearing of their claims.
With a few exceptions, immigration authorities must use the “categorical approach” to determine whether a criminal conviction triggers a ground of removal. Expert use of the categorical approach may be the most important defense strategy available to immigrants charged with or convicted of crimes. This Update of our long-running article includes discussion of Pereida v. Wilkinson, 141 S.Ct. 754 (2021).
AB 32 (People Not Profit) signed in 2019 and effective January 2020, outlaws criminal and civil private incarceration in California, with some exceptions.  Some brief months after AB 32 was signed, private prison company GEO Group Inc. and the Trump administration sued California aiming to strike down this momentous law. Federal District Court Judge Sammartino largely upheld AB 32, afterwhich GEO and the Biden administration appealed to the Ninth Circuit.