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.

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 proposed DACA regulation presents serious problems and real opportunities. See the regulation at 86 Fed Reg 53736 (Sept. 28, 2021), 
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.
The Central American Minors program allows qualifying children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to enter the United States and live here lawfully if they have a parent or legal guardian in the United States with certain kinds of immigration status. This fact sheet provides information on basic eligibility and where to go for help.
The ILRC’s work in Texas focuses on building capacity and passing and implementing local policies that dismantle the arrest-to-deportation pipeline and decriminalize immigrants, Black people, and other communities of color. To further this goal, the ILRC’s Texas team employs an array of strategies to advocate for local policies and cultivate partnerships that promote immigrant rights and criminal justice, undercut the impact of one of our nation’s most regressive anti-immigrant laws, SB 4, and build power for long-term wins. This overview of our work in Texas discusses our vision and strategy, and highlights some of our recent successes.
There have been many recent developments regarding the litigation challenges to the Department of Homeland Security enforcement priorities. This brief guide provides a quick summary to help you keep up. In short, the Enforcement Priorities are currently still in effect, although a change could come within the next few weeks. Below you will additionally find the Fifth Circuit’s temporary stay of the lower federal district court’s preliminary injunction order. While these issues are quickly moving, this update is current as of September 2021.
Mortality from COVID-19 meant that many immigrant families grieved over lost family members, and simultaneously were faced with the loss of an immigration benefit that may have depended on the deceased relative. This practice advisory will explore the options that may remain for a surviving relative who has lost someone to COVID-19 where an immigration benefit was also involved. The three possible remedies are: Survivor benefits for widow(er)s of U.S. citizens (USCs) under INA § 201(b)(2)(A)(i); other benefits for certain surviving relatives under INA § 204(l); and humanitarian reinstatement of an approved I-130 petition.
ILRC submitted this comment to commend USCIS on the recent update to the USCIS Policy Manual, entitled “Assisted Reproductive Technology and In-Wedlock Determinations for Immigration and Citizenship Purposes.” We applaud USCIS on this update and clarification, which was necessary to comport with evolving reproductive technology and address disparate treatment under previous guidance. The change will improve the fair interpretation of “wedlock” in acquisition of citizenship cases and help ensure access to citizenship for all who qualify.
4.5 million people in America are on probation.  What is probation, and what does a probation officer do?  How are probation departments involved in immigration enforcement?  This short explainer seeks to provide basic information about probation and highlight the nefarious role that many probation agencies take in turning immigrants over to ICE for deportation.
 As attacks on immigrants continue and the DACA program remains in limbo, now more than ever, it is important that local elected officials take bold action to protect immigrants within their jurisdictions. This guide, co-authored by United We Dream, provides examples of local policies that help protect immigrants from deportation by: (1) reducing arrests, (2) protecting constitutional rights, and (3) appropriating local resources wisely.