Public Comments / Sign-on Letters

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.
On August 13, 2020, ILRC submitted comments on recent changes to USCIS’s policy manual. The new chapters on discretion will radically alter adjudications of  a wide variety of applications for immigration benefits. We recommend that the changes be stricken because they are ultra vires, lack legal support, and will exacerbate USCIS’s current crisis. The policy manual changes compound agency inefficiency, waste, and mismanagement at a time when the agency has crisis-level backlogs and is seeking a bailout from Congress. Instead of looking for ways to streamline adjudications, the policy manual imposes a secondary adjudication process on dozens of application types that will require adjudicators to multiply the amount of time that they spend determining eligibility, a move that will  grind adjudications to an even slower pace  and deny applicants relief for which they would otherwise be eligible.
On November 15, 2019, the ILRC and Public Counsel submitted comments in response to the re-opened comment period on the proposed SIJS regulations, originally published in 2011. The ILRC and Public Counsel each submitted comments on the proposed rule during the original 2011 comment period, organizationally and as part of the Immigrant Children Lawyers Network. Accordingly, in 2019, we wrote to renew our 2011 comments and briefly supplement them due, in part, to concerns and changes in practice that had arisen in the intervening eight years.
On June 5, 2020, the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, published People v. Ruiz, holding that the defendant could vacate her conviction because she was not advised that her conviction will carry deportation consequences.  Rose Cahn, Mike Mehr, and appellant’s counsel, filed the above letter with the Court of Appeal, suggesting clarification that defense counsel bears the duty to advise about specific immigration consequences, and distinguishing from the court’s more general obligation to advise about potential immigration consequences.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency funded by the fees of US citizens, employers, and immigrants, is asking Congress for $1.2 billion in appropriated money to cover up years of deliberate fiscal and policy mismanagement by the Trump administration. The ILRC and DHS Watch drafted a letter signed by over 100 groups asking that Congress condition any appropriated funds to USCIS's reversal of policies and actions that produced the current deficit and subverted the agency’s core services mission. 
COVID-19 has made one thing clear; when law enforcement cooperates with ICE this has dire public health implications. There have been renewed and urgent efforts to stop this cooperation, including a recently filed lawsuit California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, et al. v. Gavin Newsom, California Governor, et al., challenging the transfer of people from state and local custody to ICE in the midst of COVID-19. Ten current and former district attorneys and police chiefs from across California filed an amicus curiae letter brief in support of this lawsuit.  This letter brief was authored and organized by Fair and Just Prosecution, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
ILRC sent a request to USCIS headquarters to provide more information and to also take certain actions to deal with the consequences of the closure of USCIS public services and the impact of COVID-19 on the immigrant public. These are  concerns raised  by the individuals and organizations with whom we partner. We have promised to raise more issues as the emergency situation continues.