Immigrants' RightsPublic Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project represents individuals seeking asylum in the United States based on past persecution or a well founded fear of future persecution on account of political opinion, race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group. Also assists immigrants who have been abused by a US citizen or permanent resident, and victims of trafficking and other crimes. Read More
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Important information for DREAM Act-eligible youth
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced interim immigration relief in the form of “Deferred Action” to young people who would otherwise be eligible for the DREAM Act. Click here to get the latest information.
- Judge Orders Mental Disability Screenings for Immigrants Held by U.S. Without Attorneys The U.S. must assess people for competency in case that was sparked by the story of a man who was held for nearly five years.
- Tortured for Teaching Tolerance, Ugandan Principal Who Stood Up Against Anti-Gay Hate Wins Asylum Susana was a school principal in Uganda who was persecuted for promoting tolerance and diversity among her students. Public Counsel helped her win asylum.
- Amazing People, Changing Lives: Meet Public Counsel's 2013 Pro Bono Heroes With more than 5,000 volunteer attorneys and professionals from the nation's top law firms, companies and private practitioners, Public Counsel is the nation's largest not-for-profit law firm of our kind. But it wouldn't happen without our pro bono heroes. Meet our 2013 Pro Bono Award honorees.
- Federal Court Orders Legal Representation for Immigrant Detainees With Mental Disabilities Public Counsel has helped make history. For the first time a court has recognized a right to appointed legal representation for a group of people facing immigration proceedings.
- Public Counsel Launches Legal Program to Assist DREAM Act-Eligible Young People Watch a 3-minute video and learn more about Public Counsel's new legal project to assist some of the more than 1 million young people who qualify for the "deferred action" program announced this summer by President Obama.
- Get Public Counsel's 2011-2012 Annual Report More cases, more impact, more amazing stories. Get the full story in Public Counsel's 2011-2012 Annual Report.
- UPDATE: New Information on President Obama's Deferred Action Program Public Counsel has new information about President Obama's deferred action program for immigrant youth and how to qualify.
- Big Step Toward Justice for Immigrants with Mental Disabilities: Court Clears Way for Class Action Lawsuit In 2010 a Public Counsel lawsuit exposed a harsh fact: Immigrants with severe mental disabilities are held in U.S. detention centers, sometimes for years, without access to attorneys. Now a federal court has cleared the way for a class action lawsuit on behalf of people detained with no way to resolve their cases.
- Public Counsel in the LA Times: How Miguel Canto Went Missing Public Counsel's Talia Inlender wrote in the Los Angeles Times about Miguel Canto, a man who got lost in the legal system and then was released to the streets -- cast off by our nation's broken immigration laws.
- 'We Are Public Counsel': Snapshots from the 2011 Pro Bono Awards Public Counsel celebrates the attorneys and professionals who helped us provide free legal help and change thousands of lives. "Our honorees are talented attorneys and professionals and they are making our city and nation a better place to live," said President and CEO Hernan Vera.
- Public Counsel and Partners Secure Legal Help for Mentally Disabled Immigrants in Detention In a major decision, a U.S. district court has ruled that federal officials must provide representation and bond hearings for two men with severe mental disabilities while they fight their deportation cases. Judge Dolly Gee's decision marks one of the first instances... Read more
- Reuniting a Family Fleeing Torture After fleeing from torture in Cameroon and enduring a six year battle in immigration court, Clarisse was granted asylum and is finally able to bring her children to safety in the United States, far from the authorities who tortured and killed her family. Read more...
- Asylum for a Young Woman Fleeing Rwanda Alondra survived torture during the time of the Rwandan genocide, only to be threatened again years later when she was asked to testify against her torturer. She fled to the United States, fearing for her life.
- A Family Reunion Carmen Fierros couldn't be happier to have her boys, now grown men of 18 and 22, in her arms again. The Fierros family was reunited after 10 years of separation when Carmen was approved for a U Visa to stay in the U.S. after helping law enforcement prosecute her abusive husband.
- Fleeing Persecution - A Family Finds Asylum "Amani" is a 16 year-old girl from a country ruled by a repressive regime. Her family has a history of political activism. Persecution of Amani's family culminated when pro-government forces followed Amani home and poured acid over her face. Amani fled with her parents to Los Angeles. Each year, our Immigrants' Rights Project assists hundreds of victims of persecution, domestic violence, human trafficking and hate crimes.
- President Obama's Immigration Plan Shifts Balance toward Fairness for Families Public Counsel's Judy London responded to the president's executive action on immigration.
- Groups Ask Federal Court to Block Deportation Hearings for Children Without Legal Representation Move Comes as Immigration Courts are Speeding Up Deportation Hearings Against Children, Raising Serious Concerns
- Groups Sue Federal Government over Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children Placed into Deportation Proceedings Today Public Counsel and a coalition of groups filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide legal representation for thousands of children who face deportation proceedings on their own. Many of these children have come to the United States from Central America fleeing violence or persecution.
- Statement: 'Children fleeing violence need more protection, not less' Judy London, Director of Immigrants' Rights at Public Counsel, gave a statement in response to an Obama Administration plan released on Monday, June 30. She said that "the Obama administration has abandoned its responsibility and global leadership by seeking to deny vulnerable children fair and meaningful access to protection."
- Public Counsel Honors Elizabeth Dole with 2013 William O. Douglas Award at Gala Night Public Counsel honored Elizabeth Dole with its William O. Douglas Award on Thursday, September 12, 2013, and announced a new partnership to give legal support to caregivers supporting wounded warriors and military veterans.
- Federal Court Orders Legal Representation for Immigrant Detainees With Mental Disabilities Vulnerable Immigrants in Removal Proceedings Unable to Represent Themselves Must Get Counsel and a Hearing
- Class Action Lawsuit Forces Policy Change to Protect Detained Immigrants with Serious Mental Disabilities "After spending three years litigating against basic protections for immigrants with serious mental disabilities, the government has finally recognized that its prior policies were inadequate.”
- Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status to Unrepresented Immigration Detainees With Mental Disabilities A federal court in California granted class-action status to a group of unrepresented immigration detainees with mental disabilities, an important step in helping ensure they get access to legal counsel.
- U.S. 9th Circuit Court Rules in Favor of Former Foster Youth in Immigration Court The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 2, 2011, in favor of a former foster youth who was brought to the United States as a young child and became a legal U.S. resident but was later deported. The decision in Garcia v. Holder is the first to define when legal status starts for immigrant youth who qualify for special rules meant to protect those who suffer abuse or neglect.
- Mentally Disabled Immigrant Wins Battle to Obtain Legal Representation Public Counsel and The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California announced that a federal court in Los Angeles ordered the Department of Homeland Security to find legal representation - whether paid or pro bono - for a man suffering from a serious mental illness held in immigration detention. The court's order, which was unsealed today, defined the procedures that the government must follow to protect the rights of immigrants with severe mental disabilities held in detention.
- LA Times: Detained immigrants with mental illnesses face barriers in court Immigrant advocates say there are hundreds of mentally ill immigration defendants left to fend for themselves without any protections in court.
- National Law Journal: Judge certifies class of immigration detainees suffering mental problems A federal judge in California has certified a class of hundreds of undocumented immigrant detainees with mental disabilities who have alleged that they were unable to obtain legal counsel in violation of their due process rights.
- Daily Journal: Obama adminstration deports record number of illegal immigrants As the U.S. sets a new record by deporting nearly 400,000 people who were in the country illegally during fiscal 2011, Public Counsel's Judy London responded to the Daily Journal.
- Daily Journal: Litigators take up the fight for state court funds Public Counsel is part of a major new effort to protect California courts from cuts that hurt the public.
- LA Times: Immigrant Detainees, Lost in America The immigration courts system is failing those detainees who have serious mental disabilities.
- OC Register: Disabled Costa Mesa man released from ICE custody A mentally disabled Costa Mesa man who has been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for five years without a chance to challenge his detention was released Wednesday.
- Two mentally disabled Mexican immigrants released after long detention Two mentally disabled Mexican immigrants who spent years in detention facilities after completing their sentences for assault convictions were released Wednesday by U.S. immigration authorities, officials said.
- Asylum seeker hopes, hides in L.A. Two years after fleeing his nation, where he was jailed and tortured, he waits for his case to be decided, fearing for his family back home.
- After a Youth of Breaking the Law, He Finds His Calling: Making the Law 30-year-old Frankie Guzman has just finished his first year at UCLA School of Law, is set to co-chair the school's La Raza Law Students Association next year, and is about to begin a summer internship with Public Counsel in Los Angeles.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Manual December 2010 This manual supplements Public Counsel's 2010-2011 Guardianship of the Person Attorney Manual, and is designed to assist attorneys in obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status ("SIJS") and lawful permanent residency for children through Probate Court guardianships.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children & Youth This book, co-authored by IRP Senior Staff Attorney Kristen Jackson and published by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in 2010, provides background and guidance on protections, procedures, and immigration options for children.
- Asylum Manual January 2012 This manual was developed by staff attorneys at Public Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project. It was written for volunteer attorneys working on Public Counsel's pro bono cases. It contains a summary of asylum law and related immigration relief, and guidance for both affirmative asylum applications and defensive applications. The manual includes appendices with samples and other practical materials.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Adjudications: An Opportunity for Adoption of Best Practices This report by the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, published in April 2011, issues recommendations regarding adjudications for those who seek Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
- Resources for Pro Bono Attorneys Representing Asylum Applicants
- Training Manual for U-Visa Based Adjustment of Status Cases Click here to download chapter-specific content from the Immigrants' Rights Project's 2015 U-Visa based adjustment of status manual.