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.
Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic has developed a first-of-its-kind toolkit for Criminal Defenders working with noncitizen clients who may be placed in removal proceedings through the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP). The Stanford Immigrants’ Rights Clinic* developed these materials on behalf of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).
The toolkit involves two components:
- First, a companion guide for criminal defense attorneys that includes: an overview of IHP; best practices for protecting noncitizen clients’ rights; advice to share with clients on how clients may prepare for immigration removal proceedings; answers to clients’ common questions about the program; and an index of current IHP locations.
- Second, a “tear away” handout for defenders to share directly with clients. For ease, the tear away handout is included here as a separate link and is also included as an appendix in the main document.
While the toolkit was specifically developed for federal and state defenders practicing in California, we think that it is applicable and useful to federal defenders across the country as well. Additionally, given that IHP is a removal program run by EOIR, ICE, and BOP, we are hopeful that the toolkit will also be helpful to the immigration bar.
* A special thanks to IRC students Noelle Smith (’21), Claire Fieldman (’22), Raven Quesenberry (’22), and Drew Alvarez (’21) who developed the materials.
IHP Pro Se Guide: 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.
Asylum Pro Se Guide: 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.
ISAP Pro Se Guide: ICE requires many people seeking asylum to wear ankle monitors, 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 Manual: 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 .
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.