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 and Pro-Se Materials

Students in the Immigrants' Rights Clinic have drafted and finalized Know-Your-Rights and Pro-Se materials, empowering undocumented residents with knowledge and resources to advocate for themselves before ICE and immigration court.

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IHP Pro Se Guides: Clinic students created a first of its kind resource regarding the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP). The Department of Homeland Security’s IHP program initiates and conducts deportation proceedings in state and federal prisons against noncitizens who are still serving time for criminal convictions. IRC students, working on behalf of Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland) and The Justice and Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco (San Francisco), engaged in extensive research and visited both the Dublin and Taft federal prisons (two IHP hearing sites). They field tested the materials with the IHP population at Dublin and incorporated feedback and advice from the intended audience in order to ensure that the materials were presented in an accessible and useful manner. The guide serves as a vital resource for noncitizens in the IHP as they navigate the immigration system with little to no access to legal representation.


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Asylum Pro Se Guides: Students worked with the Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto (CLSESPA) and Centro Legal de la Raza (“Centro”) to prepare Know Your Rights materials for pro se asylum seekers. Both CLSEPA and Centro conduct regular screenings and intake nights for immigrants facing removal who may be afraid to return to their home countries. During these meetings, CLSEPA and Centro attorneys provide basic information about asylum and the process for applying for asylum. Clinic students created new materials to assist asylum-seekers in representing themselves in immigration court. These materials are the first of their kind in the country. The materials are critically necessary because there is a severe shortage of qualified attorneys who are able to represent asylum seekers in removal proceedings. This means that many asylum seekers are forced to defend themselves in Court without the assistance of an attorney.

read more Asylum Pro Se Guide – English Asylum Pro Se Guide – Spanish

ISAP Pro Se Guides: ICE requires many people seeking asylum to wear ankle monito​rs, which are large devices that must be charged frequently and for long periods of time. Most of the asylum seekers who are being required to wear these monitors are young women and mothers. These monitors restricted the ability of asylum-seekers to work, care for their children, and just live their lives. Students in the clinic met with the asylum seekers, represented them in their initial court hearings, conducted legal research, and interviewed attorneys familiar with the process for advocating for removal of the ankle monitors. Students then developed know your rights materials so that asylum-seekers can now advocate for themselves to have their ankle monitors removed. The Clinic has received very positive feedback on the know-your-rights materials from our partner on the project, the Bar Association of San Francisco.


Reinstatement of Removal Manuals: Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Students collaborated with Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California to develop a pro se “Reinstatement of Removal” manual in English and in Spanish to help pro se immigrants in Northern California detention centers navigate the complex and nuanced reinstatement of removal process. Reinstatement of removal is an expedited and administrative removal process that many immigrants are subject to, involving complicated statutory and regulatory procedures and limits to the availability of relief from removal. Students visited the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, CA on multiple occasions, interviewed detained immigrants, conducted research and subsequently developed and wrote the manual. The manual is the first of its kind developed for detainees housed in Northern California .


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U Visa Manual: Immigrants’ Rights Clinic students collaborated with Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California to develop the first ever pro se U Visa manual in English and Spanish to help pro se immigrants in Northern California detention centers apply for U Visas. A U Visa is a form of legal relief for non-citizens who have been victims of serious crimes in the United States and have cooperated with law enforcement. The manual is the first of its kind in the country. To create the manual, students visited the Richmond Detention Facility, interviewed detainees, and researched the requirements of the U Visa. They then designed the manual, complete with easy-to-follow pictures and diagrams, to explain the legal requirements and walk detainees through the process of applying for the visa on their own. Students also tested earlier drafts of the manual with the detainees at Richmond, collaborating with the detainees to ensure that the manual addresses their concerns and questions. The pro se U Visa manual is assisting pro se detainees in accessing much-needed immigration relief.


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.