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.

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.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy guidance provides important information on how USCIS interprets these requirements and approaches T Visa adjudications. On October 20, 2021, USCIS added comprehensive policy guidance on T Visas to its Policy Manual. This practice advisory explores how these updates interpret the definition of a “severe form of trafficking in persons,” a key eligibility requirement for the T Visa.
On March 8, ILRC responded to a request for input from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on how to broaden public engagement with the public in the federal regulatory process. ILRC suggested that OIRA partner with community organizations to ensure that information is shared in the most effective way possible, including written materials and trainings. ILRC also made several process suggestions that OIRA can implement to reduce barriers to public participation.
On March 8, ILRC provided comments on the USCIS proposed fee rule. In the comment, ILRC commended agency actions codifying fee exemptions. Additionally, ILRC requested that USCIS codify fee waiver eligibility standards and raise the income threshold for fee waivers. We also requested that fee increases be reduced for applications for lawful permanent residence, work authorization and family petitions, among others. Finally, the comment provides requested changes to various USCIS forms that are open for comment in conjunction with the proposed fee rule.
Cannabis legalization has long been a growing theme across the United States, having a place in virtually every recent election cycle and in policy debates related to the federal government’s role in restricting its access, sale, use, and distribution. With many states moving to legalize cannabis for recreational use and with the Biden administration recently deciding to pardon individuals for certain federal convictions related to its possession, it may seem as though we are coming to the end of the cannabis prohibition era. Unfortunately, not only is that moment yet to arrive, but the dangers for immigrants, in particular, could not be higher. This downloadable guide walks through the current intersection of cannabis, criminal, and immigration law and also shares insights about what a pathway out of prohibition could look like.
On December 23, 2022, a new rule on public charge went into effect. The new rule reinforces longstanding policies on public charge that ensure families can access health and nutrition programs and many other benefits without fear. Not all immigrants need to worry about public charge since many are not affected and can receive any public benefit they are eligible for without consequences. This downloadable guide offers more information about whether public charge affects you or your family.
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.
On December 19, 2022, USCIS published updates to its Policy Manual on how adjudicators should assess applications under the Public Charge ground of inadmissibility. This guidance accompanies the new final rule on Public Charge which took effect on December 23, 2023. The guidance is mostly positive, solidifying and strengthening longstanding public charge policy. However, the ILRC provided suggestions to clarify implementation of the new rule and help USCIS achieve their goals of ensuring that the public charge ground of inadmissibility is applied clearly, consistently, and fairly.