The National Immigration Project applauds the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Golicov v. Lynch

sejalIt is the fourth federal appellate court that has ruled in favor of due process and fair notice for immigrants, joining the Ninth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuit courts. The National Immigration Project has been working to challenge this particular statutory provision for many years because of its vague language and inconsistent application. We have witnessed the confusion and uncertainty caused by 16(b) both for noncitizen defendants as they try to determine the immigration consequences of their pleas, and for fact-finders who try to apply its nebulous provision. Today's decision reinforces the principal that every noncitizen facing removal should be guaranteed a consistent application of the laws and a judicially fair process. The case was argued by Skyler Anderson, with the National Immigration Project as amicus.
Download the decision »

Community Members Urge Dept. of Homeland Security to Release Crucial Document on Systemic Civil Rights Violations at Etowah County Immigrant Detention Center

shut down etowah signage (September 8, 2016) NIPNLG and civic, faith, immigrants’ rights activists gathered to announce the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a key document issued by the Department of Homeland Security/DHS’s civil rights watchdog office calling for the closure of the infamous Etowah immigrant detention center in Gadsden, Alabama.

Download the press release »
Read the FOIA Request »

North Carolina Youth Wildin Acosta and Alexander Soriano Released From Detention

north carolina(August 18, 2016) NIPNLG celebrates the release of two North Carolina teens and calls for ICE to release other incarcerated youth.

Download the press release »

Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

(July 29, 2016) The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG applaud the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision yesterday in Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch. The decision strongly reaffirms the importance of immigrants’ statutory right to file a motion to reopen, a procedural protection meant to ensure a proper and lawful outcome in an immigration proceeding. Download the press release »

DHS Supplementary Guidance on Sensitive Locations Fails to Address Aggressive Raids

(July 26, 2016) NIPNLG Calls on DHS Secretary Johnson to Release Wildin Acosta and Other Raid Victims. Download the press release »

Victory in Fifth Circuit, Gomez-Perez v. Lynch

(July 11, 2016) Fifth Circuit Agrees with NIPNLG Amicus Brief in Hermenegildo Gomez-Perez v. Loretta Lynch. Congrats to NIPNLG Legal Director Sejal Zota. Download the decision »

Victory in Sixth Circuit Opinion, Shuti v. Lynch

(July 7, 2016) The side supported by an NIPNLG amicus brief won in the Sixth Circuit in a published opinion, Shuti v. Lynch. 16(b) Crime of Violence was found unconstitutional. NIPNLG was amicus in this case. As the government presently tries to get the Supreme Court to review the decision in Dimaya, now there is no longer a circuit split. Read the decision here: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov »

Honoring Debbie Smith on the Occasion of NIPNLG's 45th Anniversary Year

(June 24, 2016) Debbie is a much-loved attorney, advocate, and former NIPNLG board chair. She has been a principled advocate, mentor, and litigator for decades. Download the book honoring her »

Bond Set at $30,000 for Charlotte High School Student Arrested in ICE Raid

Stewart Detention Center

(June 27, 2016) Family and Community Call on Release of North Carolina Youth Now Entering 6 Months of Incarceration. The Immigration Judge at Stewart Detention Center set the bond amount for Yefri at $30,000, a highly disproportionate and unnecessary amount to place on a high school student and his family. Unfortunately, this high bond amount comes at no surprise given that the Immigration Court in Georgia is one of the most anti-immigrant in the country. Download the press release »

Family and Community Supporters Travel to Stewart Detention Center to Attend Bond Hearing for Yefri Sorto Hernandez, Visit Wildin Acosta and Youth Detainees

(June 24, 2016) A bond hearing for Yefri Sorto Hernandez will be held on Monday, June 27th at Stewart Detention Center at 8:00AM. A judge will decide to either grant a bond to the 19-year old West Mecklenburg High School senior and allow him to return to his family, school and community in Charlotte or to deny his request for bond and sentence him to remain in jail indefinitely. Download the press release »

A Message from NIPNLG: SCOTUS Ruling U.S. v. Texas

(June 24, 2016) This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in U.S. v. Texas. While many of us anticipated this outcome, it still comes as a blow. But we know that the NIPNLG community is if anything resilient, and that now, as we always have done, we stand in solidarity with the nation's immigrants and immigrant famlies. Read the full letter »

Top Immigration, Education and Criminal Justice Experts to Hold Congressional Briefing on ICE Raids

(May 23, 2016) A Congressional briefing entitled, "ICE Raids on Immigrant Youth: The Harm to Youth Education and a Driver of Youth Incarceration," will be held Wednesday, May 25th at 3:00 in the Rayburn House Building, Room 2226. Download the press pelease »

NIPNLG Files Public Records Request to Expose Civil Rights Violations in ICE Program, "Operation Border Guardian"

paromita shah

April 26, 2016 - NIPNLG filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Operation Border Guardian, an Immigration and Customs (ICE) enforcement and detention program targeting Central American teenagers for deportation since January 2016. Since January, there has been widespread public attention and Congressional concern regarding the devastating impact of "Operation Border Guardian" on communities, families and schools particularly in North Carolina and Georgia. Read the press release »

NIPNLG Honors Debbie Smith at Annual Member Reception

deported to death south assians protest

April 21, 2016 - Each year at the annual AILA convention (American Immigration Lawyers Association) NIPNLG recognizes a member of our community who has made outstanding contributions to the cause of immigrant justice. We are proud to announce our 2016 honoree on the occasion of NIPNLG's 45th Anniverary Year, Debbie Smith. More »

Nearly 100 South Asians Deported

deported to death south assians protest

April 6, 2016 - NIPNLG is helping detainees file pro se prosecutorial discretion requests with some limited success. We’re pushing for others to be released as well. As Fahd Ahmed of DRUM says in this article (which also quotes Assoc Dir Paromita Shah): “The Obama administration just deported nearly 100 South Asian detainees who crossed three continents seeking safety in the US.” Read the full article on alternet »

As NC Teen Wildin Acosta Awaits Imminent Deportation, Community Announces Week of Actions Demanding Immediate Release

logo of alerta migratoria NC

For months, North Carolina families, teachers, students, and civil, labor and faith organizations have been fighting the detention and deportation of NC teenagers such as the imminent deportation of Wildin Acosta. While ICE Director Sarah Saldaña granted Wildin a stay of one more day to file his appeal, Wildin remains detained in Georgia and could be deported as early as tomorrow. Read the press release »

Administrative Complaint – Extreme Temperatures in CBP Short Term Detention Facilities

trina realmuto picture

February 2, 2016 - NIPNLG, in collaboration with Programa de Defensa e Incidencia Binacional and the ACLU of New Mexico, filed an administrative complaint on behalf of persons held by CBP in short-term detention facilities where they are exposed to extreme temperatures. The administrative complaint also challenges the agency standards addressing temperature controls in short-term facilities, but asserts that the agency fails to abide even by these standards. Download the complaint » [PDF]

Ongoing Litigation against CBP

hold cbp accountable logo

Check out some of the ongoing litigation efforts against CBP and get inspired to bring your own challenge at www.HoldCBPAccountable.org, a joint project of NIPNLG, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.


  • Final judgment and settlement in Rios-Diaz, et al. v. Colonel Tom Butler, Montana Highway Patrol, et al. The settlement requires adherence to a new policy clarifying that Montana State’s Highway Patrol will not stop or prolong detention for purposes of verifying immigration status, even if requested to do so by CBP or ICE. In addition, the judgment also requires, among other things, training for MHP officials as to the new policy, requires MHA to collect data on all traffic stops anytime MHP contacts DHS and requires MHP to submit annual reports regarding racial profiling;
  • FTCA Administrative Complaint filed by Justice for Our Neighbors in Nebraska on behalf of U.S. citizen child who was arrested by CBP (even though she presented her valid U.S. birth certificate at the airport). She was first held in an “hielera” or icebox by CBP, before being transferred to ORR, which continued to hold her in custody for 44 days, before finally being released to family in Nebraska;
  • Administrative complaint to Office of Inspector General and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of DHS filed against CBP on behalf of persons held by CBP in short-term detention facilities where they are exposed to extreme temperatures. The administrative complaint also challenges the agency standards addressing temperature controls in short-term facilities, but asserts that the agency fails to abide even by these standards. The complaint was filed by NIPNLG, in collaboration with Programa de Defensa e Incidencia Binacional and the ACLU of NM;
  • On February 4, 2016, after Plaintiffs accepted the settlement offer of $80,000.00, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the FTCA action against CBP in Quinonez Flores v. USA, in the Eastern District of New York; the plaintiff in this case was held for three days in deplorable conditions in CBP detention (a “hielera”) in south Texas;
  • On January 4, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment in Jacobson et al. v. DHS et al., a First Amendment case involving the right to photograph and monitor Border Patrol checkpoints;
  • On February 1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss their amended complaint in Askins et al. v. DHS et al., a First Amendment case involving the right to photograph at Ports of Entry;
  • Exciting developments in Doe v. CBP, the class action challenging overnight detention in “hieleras” within Border Patrol facilities throughout much of Arizona. The Court certified a class and denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims, although it did dismiss the APA claims. Pending before the court are Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction; Defendants’ Motion to Seal much of the evidence filed (currently under seal) in support of preliminary injunction; and a motion by the newspaper, the Arizona Republic, to intervene for the purpose of opposing the sealing of this evidence.

Creative Strategies in Immigration Court Defense and Litigation

NIPNLG and the Immigration Clinic at University of Miami School of Law present Creative Strategies in Immigration Court Defense and Litigation, a one-day Continuing Legal Education skill-building seminar on April 29, 2016. Please join us and learn from national experts at this day-long seminar.

View the full agenda, details, directions, and more »
Register today! »

Assoc. Dir. Paromita Shah Speaks out against Raids in the Washington Post

paromita shahJanuary 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....”

Read the full article at wapo.st/1nfXTZ5 »

Law Students! Magio Fellowship Deadline is Approaching

maggio logoThe Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowship Program application deadline for our 2016 Summer Fellowship is Friday, February 1, 2016!

Find out more at maggiofellowship.org »

You have Rights! Know Your Rights!

listings of how to protect yourselfJanuary 9, 2016 - Share these cards by printing them out, and/or sharing on social media. Help protect immigrant families from an abuse of their legal rights.

Cards are available in multiple languages here »

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!

Read the article at http://bit.ly/1ZaM55Y »

Report Suspicious ICE Activity: NIPNLG Joins United We Dream Hotline

report suspicious ICE activityJanuary 5, 2016 – Report any suspicious ICE activity in your area.

We urge you to call (844) 363-1423 or text WATCHICE to 877877. Share the information to protect your community from detention and deportation!

View materials in English and Spanish »

A Message from Executive Director, Dan Kesselbrenner

dan kesselbrennerEvery 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.

Read the full letter »

Paromita Shah in al Jazeera America Article

paromita shah

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.”

Read the full article »

Sejal Zota Quoted in US Law Week Article on Dimaya and its Future

sejal zotaOctober 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 »

Crimes of Violence No Longer Grounds for Deportation in 9th Circuit

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.

Read the decision »

Read our Practice Advisory "How Johnson v. United States May Help Your Crime of Violence Case" »

NIPNLG Succcesfully Challenges CBP's Extensive FOIA Delays

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.

Read the full decision »

Defending the Rights of Immigrants - Remarks by Kathy Moccio, NIPNLG 2015 Member Honoree

kathy.moccio's picture

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.


Download Kathy's full remarks »

Trina Realmuto to be Honored with Jack Wasserman Award

trina realmuto picture

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.

Download more info about Trina Realmuto »

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.

Download the Press Release »

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
5:30-7:00pm
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

You may place your ad by returning this form to Pamela Goldstein.

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."

Download the Full Report »
Download the Press Release »

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.

Download the Press Release »
Download the Complaint »
Download the Declaration »