CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populations Program engages in strategic litigation to advance the rights of immigrants.
On July 31, 2019, CLINIC joined eight other organizations that serve survivors of gender-based violence to submit an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a case called Grace v. Barr. The Grace case challenges guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security to implement Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision in Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), which attempted to announce a policy stating that asylum claims pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence will not generally qualify for asylum. A D.C.-based district judge enjoined the new policy, and the government appealed. CLINIC and other organizations argue that the injunction is legally correct and provide the court with examples of gender-based violence that merit refugee protection.
CLINIC, along with Kids In Need of Defense, or KIND, Public Counsel, and Goodwin Procter on July 1, 2019, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The suit challenges a new policy that limits the ability to seek asylum for certain children who arrived in the country alone. The lawsuit alleges that the policy by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services violates the plaintiffs' rights under the 5th Amendment, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services argues that the government has not been giving formerly separated families timely access to critical records in their immigration files.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, known as ASAP, have filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Maryland seeking to compel the federal government to release the immigration records of formerly separated families.
CLINIC has filed suit on behalf of a Miami grandmother and widow who is seeking to become a citizen of the United States. She was initially granted her permanent resident status in error, but a federal immigration judge granted her a waiver under INA § 237(a)(1)(H). Yet, USCIS has unlawfully concluded that a person is permanently barred from naturalization if there was an error in the visa process, even if the person later obtains a waiver for that error.
The current administration has taken unprecedented steps to undermine the U.S. asylum system. CLINIC, along with Mei F. Chen, are counsel to Mr. L-E-A- in a case pending before the Attorney General, which will address family as a potential ground for asylum.