Assoc. Dir. Paromita Shah Speaks out against Raids in the Washington Post
January 18, 2016 – “When President Obama stood up for the [Syrian] refugee program and stood up against the blanket racism directed at anyone who appeared to be Middle Eastern or Muslim, I think people were happy,” said Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “But they can’t square it with what he is doing now....”
Law Students! Magio Fellowship Deadline is Approaching
You have Rights! Know Your Rights!
Barbara Hines on Democracy Now!
January 8, 2015 - Check out NIPNLG board member Barbara Hines on Democracy Now! speaking out against raids in Dilley, Texas, as well as flawed immigration policy overall. Speak!
Report Suspicious ICE Activity: NIPNLG Joins United We Dream Hotline
We urge you to call (844) 363-1423 or text WATCHICE to 877877. Share the information to protect your community from detention and deportation!
Every year at this time I try to savor the hard-won victories and learn from the setbacks, in order to make the National Immigration Project/NLG better able to respond to the enormous challenges facing our communities in the year ahead.
Gang or No Gang, Many Immigrants Legally Stymied by Injunctions
"A lot of different people can be in an area covered by a gang injunction,” said Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild in Washington, D.C. “A gang injunction is meant to bar conduct in an area so that people suspected of being gang members do not talk to one another. It could be based on age or whether they’re driving in the same car.”
October 27, 2015 – In response to the victory we had a couple of weeks ago in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, many are wondering what the future of this decision will hold for us. Read the article to see what Sejal and others had to say »
October 19, 2015 – In a victory in the fight for due process and fair notice, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that 18 U.S.C. 16(b)—used to deport immigrants for an aggravated felony crime of violence and crime of domestic violence—is unconstitutionally vague. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had found that a similar crime of violence definition used to enhance federal criminal sentences is unconstitutionally vague.
United States v. Johnson, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). In Johnson, the Court interpreted the so-called “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), and it reasoned that the statute did not give people fair notice of the conduct prohibited and invited arbitrary enforcement.
In a 2-1 opinion, the Ninth Circuit held that § 16(b) suffers from the same indeterminacy. Because 16(b) employs the same unpredictable mode of analysis as the ACCA, the Court found that it too violates due process. This means the government will no longer be able to use this immigration ground against noncitizens for any purpose in the Ninth Circuit. The decision will help countless immigrants.
The case was argued by Andrew Knapp for petitioner and Sejal Zota of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild for amicus.
September 17, 2015 - In a victory in the fight for government transparency and accountability, District Court Judge Donato denied CBP’s motion to dismiss in a strongly worded decision. The Court recognized that “CBP’s records are critical to noncitizens and their attorneys in evaluating immigration options and the possibility of remaining legally in the United States.”
He then roundly rejected the government’s claim that CBP’s failure to meet the statutory deadlines is not actionable, finding this argument “wholly at odds with the statute and cases” and that CBP’s reading of the relevant cases “could not be less persuasive.”
The Court concluded that Plaintiffs adequately alleged a FOIA violation and ordered CBP to file an answer within ten days. Oral arguments on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification took place on October 7, 2015.
The Court ordered a six-month discovery period to permit the collection of evidence regarding CBP’s pattern and practice of delays in responding to FOIA requests. Co-counsel are the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Immigration Council and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
Defending the Rights of Immigrants - Remarks by Kathy Moccio, NIPNLG 2015 Member Honoree
June 19, 2015 - National Harbor, MD - NIPNLG 2015 Member Honoree, Kathy Moccio, presented remarks during the reception in her honor, as she was presented with her recognition at our annual Member Reception at the annual AILA convention. Moccio noted that the full potential of the Padilla decision is inextricably tied to the strength of the nation's public defense:
A crisis in criminal law that isn’t often talked about is the state of public defense. While we must advocate against the melding of the criminal and immigration systems, we must also realize that as long as crim-imm is in place, public defenders will be the front line of defense against a non-citizen’s removal from the U.S. The power of Padilla is inherently tied to the strength of public defense.
Trina Realmuto to be Honored with Jack Wasserman Award
May 27, 2015 - Boston, MA - NIPNLG's Litigation Director Trina Realmuto has been named this year's recipient of the prestigious Jack Wasserman memorial award for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association/AILA (aka "Litigator of the Year"). The award ceremony was held on Sat. June 20, 2015 at the annual AILA convention at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.
NIPNLG Represents Man Held Illegally on Immigration Detainer
May 8, 2015 - Springfield, MA - A man held illegally on an immigration detainer is seeking monetary damages over his detention. After an argument at a New Year’s Eve party, a federal immigration dragnet landed Jorge Sanchez in jail for weeks, on a direct path to deportation. NIPNLG and the ACLU are representing Mr. Sanchez.
Kathy Moccio Honored on June 19, 2015 at Annual NIPNLG Member Reception during Annual AILA Convention
May 4 , 2015 - The National Immigration Project announces that it will honor Kathy Moccio at its annual member reception during the annual AILA convention (American Immigration Lawyers Association) in National Harbor, MD.
NIPNLG Annual Member Reception & Recognition Honoring Kathy Moccio
Friday, June 19, 2015
Room Chesapeake E-F
Gaylord Convention Center
National Harbor, MD
Kathy Moccio is a Minnesota-based public defender working with noncitizen clients on the immigration issues inherent to their case. She teaches immigration law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and has served as a consultant to the Urban Institute in its publication of Facing Our Future–Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement. Board member Maria Baldini-Potermin offered this statement: "Kathy is a great and giving person who devotes countless hours and energy to unaccompanied minors, refugees, and asylum applicants in Minnesota. Deeply caring and dedicated, Kathy also gives of her time and effort to teach and mentor law students and attorneys from all walks of life about immigration law, particularly the immigration consequences of criminal dispositions."
Please Help Us Recognize this Tireless Member
Place a Congratulatory Message in the Commemorative Program Book
Rates are as follows:
- Full-page ad (5 x 8): $1,200
- Half page ad (5 x 3 ¾ ): $600
- 1/4 - page ad (3 ¾ x 2 ½ or 5 x 2): $400
- 1/8 - page ad (2 ½ x 2): $250
- Simple listing (no message): $150
Ads must be placed by June 3, 2015. There is no charge to attend the reception.
Please contact Pamela@nipnlg.org for further information.
Hold DHS Accountable for Fair Implementation of New Policies - New Report from NIPNLG and United We Dream
April 17, 2015 - Today, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and United We Dream released a scathing new report detailing instances in which ICE field offices ignored key provisions in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s Enforcement Memo released in November, 2014. The Memo explicitly created 3 priority categories for deportation, and provides detailed guidance on how DHS agencies and its employees should exercise discretion for individuals facing deportation or detention.
Prosecutorial Discretion Denied paints a harrowing picture of the ways in which local ICE field offices over the past 4 months have routinely ignored, denied, overlooked, or mishandled legitimate requests and evidence from immigrants seeking prosecutorial discretion in the review of their cases. The result has been the continued shredding of the social fabric of immigrant and mixed-status communities and families throughout the United States.
The report is a call to DHS to change course immediately. "Without an unconditional commitment to [making] improvements, it is difficult to see how the new prosecutorial discretion policies differ from the old failed ones."
NIPNLG Co-files Lawsuit Challenging Failure of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Release Agency Files
March 13, 2015 - Yesterday, a class action lawsuit was filed by three immigration attorneys and eleven noncitizens challenging U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA gives an individual the right to access information that the federal government possesses about him or her within 20 business days of making the request. CBP routinely fails to provide requested documents within 20 days, but instead takes months—and in many cases more than a year—to provide documents.
Plaintiffs and others like them are forced to delay filing applications for lawful permanent residence while they wait for necessary documents from their own case files. By bringing this case as a class action, the plaintiffs seek to remedy CBP’s system-wide failures in its management of FOIA requests. The case was filed by the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin (NIPNLG Board chair), Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, NIPNLG, and the American Immigration Council.
NIPNLG Statement on Texas v. United States
February 18, 2015 - NIPNLG views the preliminary injunction in Texas v. United States -- that temporarily blocks the implementation of the new deferred action initiatives announced last November -- as a momentary setback. We remain confident that the courts will ultimately uphold the new deferred action initiatives, which will bring relief to millions of noncitizens who have worked and waited tirelessly for years to contribute more fully to U.S. society. In the meantime, we will continue to fight back against draconian measures that erode noncitizen rights; and work to ensure that individuals eligible for these new programs are not deported while awaiting a final court decision.
New Practice Advisory Published - for Practitioners Assisting Individuals Seeking Relief under New Federal Program
November 25, 2014 - The National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) have published a new Practice Advisory for Criminal Defenders entitled, New "Deferred Action for Parental Accountability" (DAPA) Immigration Program Announced by President Obama. The nine-page Advisory seeks to provide sound technical assistance to criminal defense practitioners regarding the new federal program.
New Advisory for Individuals Seeking Relief under New Federal Program
November 22, 2014 - NIPNLG has published a one-page Alert for individuals with criminal convictions or arrests considering applying for the recently announced Deferred Action Programs.
Groups Launch AdminRelief.org for New Federal Program
November 20, 2014 - In the wake of President Obama’s announcement of executive action on immigration, NIPNLG as part of a coalition of national immigrant rights groups has launched a new website of free resources related to the new federal program.
The Administrative Relief Resource Center (www.adminrelief.org) seeks to be maximally helpful to legal service providers, allies in the faith, labor, and other social movements, and all practitioners and advocates working with the noncitizen population.
Summary of Administrative Relief »
Overview of Administrative Relief for Community Members »
Overview of Administrative Relief for Community Members (Spanish) » Community Education Presentation » Community Education Presentation (Spanish) »
The CIRI coalition (Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation) includes: the American Bar Association (ABA), AFL-CIO, American Immigration Council (AIC), American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Center for Migration Studies (CMS), Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), NALEO Educational Fund, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), PICO National Network, UFW Foundation, UNITE HERE, United We Dream, and World Relief.
CIRI has been meeting to plan implementation strategies since its inception during the National Legalization Planning Conference held in June 2013 in St. Louis, MO.
Groups Sue U.S. Government over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Against Mothers and Children Escaping Extreme Violence in Central America
August 22, 2014 - Today NIPNLG and allies sued the federal government to challenge its new and unlawful “fast-track” expedited removal policies that are being used against mothers and children detained in Artesia, New Mexico. Artesia is a remote detention center stationed hundreds of miles from the nearest city. The groups include: NIPNLG, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP, ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and Jenner & Block.
"These women and children sought refuge in the United States after enduring the brutal murders of their loved ones, rapes, death threats, and other atrocities,” said Staff Attorney Trina Realmuto. “Over the last several weeks we have collected evidence that shows the government is disregarding our laws, and pushing mothers and children through a deportation mill.”
Dozens of declarations by attorneys stationed at Artesia describe conditions that make it virtually impossible for mothers and their children to consult with their attorneys, access legal help, obtain notice of their hearings, and meaningfully prepare their claims for asylum or any defenses to deportation. Moreover, a significant percentage of women are victims of rape and domestic violence, and are forced to answer traumatic questions, including detailed descriptions of rape, while their children are present.
In a bizarre twist, mothers and children present their cases to immigration judges stationed in Arlington, Virginia - nearly 2,000 miles away - by televideo. Attorneys near Arlington, Virginia, attempting to observe hearings for due process violations, often face locked courtroom doors.
“This process is forcing women and children to forfeit valid asylum claims,” said Paromita Shah, Associate Director of the National Immigration Project. “We cannot allow the government to hide a fatally flawed process behind locked courtroom doors.”
The lawsuit, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
For press or related inquiries, please contact Associate Director, Paromita Shah: Paromita@nipnlg.org.
U.S. District Court Issues Final Order Approving Settlement in Duran Gonzalez v. Holder
July 21, 2014 - The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a final order approving the settlement in the case of Duran Gonzalez, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al. The settlement will allow a group of nearly 1,500 people the opportunity to remain in the United States with their families.
After 8 years of litigation that included three separate published opinions from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court approved a settlement that will allow hundreds of individuals the opportunity to reopen their previously denied applications for permanent residence so that they can remain in the United States with their families. The settlement will also allow individuals in the class who have already been removed from the United States the opportunity to submit applications through the U.S. consulates.
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild teamed with the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the Law Offices of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano and Nightingale, and the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin in litigating this class action.
Members of Congress Gain New Tool to Protect Constituents from Continuing Deportations
June 27, 2014 - Rep. Raul Grijalva hosted a briefing in Washington D.C. where United We Dream, PICO National Network, National Immigration Project and various other immigrant rights groups released a unique guide that aims to enable members of Congress to assist families facing imminent separation through deportation.
DACA Renewal Process is Announced
June 24, 2014 - NIPNLG summarizes the DACA renewal process, including highlights related to Criminal, Public Safety, and Removal issues. Please click here to read the update and highlights.
On June 5, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal and released a revised Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. USCIS also updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage on DACA.
To learn more about the DACA renewal process, please join us for our DACA Renewal Webinar on July 15, 2014.
Congratulations, Zachary Nightingale! Annual NIPNLG Reception to Honor Work of Outstanding Member on June 20, 2014 in Boston
May 22 , 2014 - NIPNLG member Zach Nightingale will be honored at our annual member reception at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) annual convention. Zach is a passionate and talented champion of immigrant rights. His unrelenting defense of justice for noncitizens embodies the values and mission of the National Immigration Project. He is known for his unstinting work ethic, commitment to justice, and passion for doing what is right.
The reception takes place on June 20, 2014 in Boston's Marriott Copley Place. All are welcome. All proceeds benefit NIPNLG. Questions? Please contact Bethany [at] nipnlg [dot] org.
Upcoming Seminars & Events
April 23, 2014 - NIPNLG announces its spring 2014 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar, Exploring Immigration Defense Strategies, to take place on May 30, 2104 in Seattle, WA, followed by a reception hosted by Rios & Cruz, P.S. For upcoming seminars and events please visit nipnlg.org/seminars.html.
Supreme Court Makes Exception for Immigration Cases in Criminal Case Decision
April 7, 2014 - On March 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in a criminal case that makes it easier to convict people with prior minor domestic violence offenses - but NOT in the immigration context, thanks to an amicus brief filed by ASISTA, NIPNLG, and others.
District Court Grants Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement and Amends Class Definition in Duran Gonzalez
March 28, 2014 - On March 21, 2014, the District Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement, including amending the class definition, in Duran Gonzalez. The court set a fairness hearing for July 11, 2014, at which the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement.
Website Launches to Expose Border-Related Abuse and Litigation: holdcpbaccountable.org
March 26, 2014 - An alliance of immigration advocacy groups announces the launch of HoldCBPAccountable.org, a website that catalogues lawsuits and administrative complaints brought against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The American Immigration Council (AIC), the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have joined forces to document litigation that exposes CBP abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures, removals based on coercion and misinformation, and the use of excessive and sometimes deadly force by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers.
Victory for Immigrants' Rights: Detainers are Not Mandatory
March 5, 2014 - The Third Circuit ruled today that detainers are merely requests, and therefore it is not mandatory for jails to comply with them. This is the first Circuit Court to address the issue, and a significant victory in the struggle to reduce the overreach of the Department of Homeland Security into the affairs of local police departments.
Congratulations due especially to ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project Staff Attorney, Kate Desormeau, who represented the appellants and argued the case; and to former NIPNLG Criminal Justice Fellow, Lena Graber, who helped shape an amicus brief filed in the case on behalf of NIPNLG. NIPNLG applauds this major gain in the effort to protect the constitutional rights of noncitizens.
New Resource on How Arrests and Convictions Separate Immigrant Families
February 14, 2014 - As part of the Immigrant Justice Network and CAMBIO, NIPNLG anounces a new resource in English and Spanish entitled, The Short Immigration Guide to How Arrest & Convictions Separate Families, designed for community-based organizations, immigrant communities, and all advocates of fair and just immigration policy. This illustrated guide explains how arrests and convictions affect immigrants, discusses the impact of current immigration reform proposals, and provides stories and tools for communities to fight back and keep families together. Download the Illustrated Short Guide below: