Impact Litigation and Advocacy Work

Students work on a broad range of impact litigation and policy projects. Students have contributed to key litigation to limit the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, and to restrict the government’s ability to detain immigrants for prolonged periods of time. Students have also engaged in local and federal regulatory advocacy, legislative work, public education, and other policy work on a broad range of projects to advance the rights of immigrant communities.

Know Your Rights Materials

Students in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic have drafted Know-Your-Rights materials, empowering unrepresented immigrants with knowledge and resources to advocate for themselves before ICE and immigration court.

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Impact Litigation and Advocacy Work 4

Class Action and Apellate Litigation

Students have conducted a broad range of impact litigation and advocacy to protect the due process rights of immigrant detainees. Under the U.S. immigration system, the federal government has the authority to detain immigrants during their deportation proceedings. Clinic students have engaged in litigation to ensure that that the government does not detain individuals for prolonged periods of time. They have also advocated for increased use of alternatives to detention and better detention conditions.

Class Action Litigation

Class Action Complaint Filed in Support of Access to Justice: The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic filed a class action lawsuit against ICE, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the private prison operator Geo Group, Inc. for creating unlawful barriers to attorney-client communications at ICE detention centers in Southern California. Officials make it nearly impossible for many detainees to contact and consult with attorneys. That violates not only the Immigration and Nationality Act, but also the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. LEARN MORE

Bond Appeals for Detained Noncitizens: The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is co-counsel in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a longstanding challenge to the federal government’s prolonged detention policies. Most recently, after a loss in the Supreme Court, the case was remanded to the Ninth Circuit, and then to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Thanks to the work of the clinic and co-counsel at the ACLU of Southern California and Sidley Austin LLP, immigrants detained in the Los Angeles area receive bond hearings after their detention becomes prolonged at the six-month mark. IRC and our co-counsel continue to litigate the case to protect the rights of immigrant detainees.

Key Opinions in Jennings v. Rodriguez

Burden of Proof Cases

The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic has partnered with the Immigrant Defense Project over the past decade to advance an innovative legal argument on behalf of immigrants with past criminal convictions. We argue that, when the record of a past conviction is ambiguous, the conviction should not bar a noncitizen from relief from removal (like asylum). We have litigated the issue in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. Recently, the Supreme Court granted review from the Eighth Circuit case in a case called Pereida v. Barr. The IRC has filed amicus briefs on behalf of the Immigrant Defense Project and other immigration organizations to illustrate the effect the Court’s decision will have on our nation’s immigrant communities.

Additional Apellate Litigation

The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic has been actively involved in appellate litigation to protect detainees in jurisdictions fighting the Trump administration’s enforcement priorities.

 

Freedom of Information Act in District Court

Complaints Filed on Behalf of Community Organizations under the Freedom of Information Act: The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic has filed lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) when these government agencies have failed to properly respond to requests to produce documents and information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under FOIA, the public has the right to access records from federal agencies. Records inform the public about the agencies’ policies and practices regarding immigration and detention. IRC has filed lawsuits on behalf of community organizations when DHS and ICE have failed to respond to requests for government agencies’ records.

Advocacy Work

Uncovering the Federal Government’s Billion Dollar Immigration Detention and Bond Operations

The Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic release report revealing that the federal government’s immigration bond system is a $1.5 billion operation. The report, based on records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, also details that the federal government is holding more than $200 million owed to immigrants and their families.

Immigration Detention and Bond Operations: A Deeply Flawed System

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