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Center Publications

Refugee and Asylee Adjustment Toolkit
Practice guide from Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants' Rights,  Boston University School of Law’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, and the Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center (PIRC) for attorneys representing refugees and asylees applying for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
August 20, 2014

Toolkit for Withholding-Only Proceedings
Practice guide from Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants' Rights and the Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center (PIRC) for attorneys representing noncitizens in withholding-only proceedings.
August 1, 2014

Notices to Appear: Legal Challenges and Strategies
Practice advisory for attorneys representing non-citizens 1) who are likely to be issued NTAs, 2) who have been issued NTAs that have not been filed with the immigration court, or 3) who have been issued NTAs that have been filed. Read the joint statement from American Immigration Council, ABA Commission on Immigration and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights on the practice advisory, Notices to Appear: Legal Challenges and Strategies.
June 30 2014

Frequently Asked Questions on Administrative Processing
April 2014

3rd Cir. Immigration Blog
April 2014

A law blog on select not precedential and precedential Third Circuit immigration decisions for immigration practitioners and advocates.

New Report calls for improvements to DHS Notice to Appear procedure
October 2013

“To File or Not to File,” a report released today by the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Penn State Law highlights the rate and circumstances surrounding Notice to Appear (NTA) filings at the immigration court. The report is available to the public online.

Best Practices for Conducting Community Workshops on DACA
April 2013

This best practices guide provides an overview of our experiences in planning and conducting a community legal education workshop around DACA. While our experience hails from organizing a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) workshop, the best practices we have discerned from our experiences translate to community education workshops generally. This guide contains feedback from immigration clinics and advocates from around the country and includes our own reflections on planning and conducting community education workshops. This guide is limited to community education workshops and does not purport to offer guidance on conducting pro se legal clinics.

Community Workshop: Shining the Light on Violence Against Immigrant Women
April 11, 2013

View the powerpoint presentation for the April 11 CCWRC-Penn State Law Community Workshop on Violence Against Immigrant Women.

Flyer, Powerpoint and Handout for March 21 PIRC-Penn State Law DACA Community Workshop
March 21, 2013
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

The Center for Immigrants' Rights teamed up with PIRC and present ed information about a new immigration program that can help young immigrants without legal status.

Immigration Relief for Victims of Abuse and Domestic Violence
July 17, 2012
Centre County Women's Resource Center's Civil Legal Representation Project

Advocates and attorneys who work with victims of domestic violence need to understand the dynamics of power and control and how they affect the safety of their clients. This understanding is especially important in working with non-citizen victims who often face additional hurdles compared to American citizens. The Center for Immigrants’ Rights has published “Immigration Relief for Victims of Abuse and Domestic Violence,” a toolkit to help practitioners in representing immigrant victims of domestic abuse.

Press ReleaseCenter for Immigrants’ Rights provides tools to help immigrant survivors of domestic violence

Center for Immigrants' Rights and NGA release report calling for guest worker protections

Leveling the Playing Field: Reforming the H-2B Program to Protect Guestworkers and U.S. Workers
June 21, 2012

National Guestworker Alliance

This report highlights cases of exploitation from Texas to Tennessee, and calls for four indispensible reforms that would end employer abuse and protect both guest workers and U.S. workers:

  • Guaranteeing guest workers the right to organize without fear of retaliation;
  • Prohibiting employers from using guest workers as cheap, exploitable alternatives to U.S. workers;
  • Eliminating debt servitude and other elements of human trafficking in the program; and
  • Subjecting employers to meaningful government enforcement and community oversight.

View NGA's press release

The NSEERS Effect: A Decade of Racial Profiling, Fear, and Secrecy
May 31, 2012
Rights Working Group

In the wake of the tragic attacks of September 11, 2011, the landscape of immigration law and policy in the United States changed dramatically as the government scrambled to create counterterrorism programs to respond to potential national security threats. One program is the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) or "special registration" that was initiated by the Department of Justice in 2002 and inherited by the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. NSEERS served as a tool that allowed the government to systematically target Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims, and South Asians from designated countries for advanced scrutiny. ...The purpose of this report is to analyze the impact of NSEERS in its current form and make recommendations for meaningful reform. (Read more)

The report also aims to educate individuals, policymakers, and advocates about NSEERS. It also builds on a 2009 white paper prepared by the Center for Immigrants’ Rights on behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel
May 31, 2012

American Immigration Council (formerly American Immigration Law Foundation)

The Center collaborated with LAC to produce a white paper addressing the law, policy and practice surrounding right to counsel in non-removal contexts before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To reach this end, students at the Center reviewed an internal legal memorandum prepared by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and LAC; a detailed memo prepared by the Center analyzing individual attorney experiences with restrictions on access before DHS; and conduct additional research pertaining to access to counsel. The white paper articulates the legal and policy standards governing an individual’s right to counsel in various non-removal settings in order to provide a framework for understanding the rights of represented individuals as well as the agency culture that continues to limit and deny representation in encounters before DHS. The white paper illustrates how current DHS practices 1) do not comply with existing law and/or 2) are restrictive interpretations of the law that are not good policy. The paper includes recommendations to DHS and possibly other federal agencies for improving access to counsel through administrative fixes that may or may not include regulatory fixes and changes to current agency guidance.

The 9/11 Effect and its Legacy on U.S. Immigration Laws: Essays, Remarks, and Photographs
September 16, 2011

An anthology of 9/11 reflections released today by the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights and the Penn State School of International Affairs concentrates on the impact of the attacks on the lives of immigrants and immigration policy, providing both a report card and ideas for the future. The publication entitled The 9/11 Effect and its Legacy on U.S. Immigration Laws: Essays, Remarks, and Photographs is available for complimentary download at

Private Bills & Deferred Action Toolkit
Duane Morris LLP
Maggio + Kattar
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
May 17, 2011

The purpose of this toolkit is to provide an instrument to aid practitioners in producing compelling arguments for extraordinary relief on behalf of their clients, while also appealing to Congress to address the human dimensions of the immigration laws. This toolkit delves into two forms of relief: private bills and deferred action. The goal of this toolkit is to provide concise and helpful information for practitioners representing clients’ whose last possible options for relief are deferred action or private bills. Both forms of relief are tricky and difficult, at best. This toolkit includes background information on deferred action and private bills, best practices, sources of law, case summaries, and other resources, to aid individuals in their pursuit of relief.

Press Release — New toolkit sheds light on lesser known immigration remedies — Private bills and deferred action covered by leading law firms and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights

The One-Year Asylum Deadline and the BIA: No Protection, No Process
Human Rights First
National Immigrant Justice Center
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
October 21, 2010

The right to seek asylum from persecution is a fundamental and long-recognized human right. The
United States committed to protecting refugees in 1967 when it signed the Protocol relating to the
Status of Refugees and later enacted legislation to incorporate the Protocol’s key provisions into domestic law.  Despite these commitments, in 1996 Congress enacted a filing deadline for asylum applications which has resulted in potentially denying protections to thousands of legitimate refugees.

Press ReleaseThousands of Refugees Denied Protection due to Asylum Filing Deadline — U.S. Implementation of One-Year Deadline Violates Human Rights, Report Says

Practitioner's Toolkit on Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents 
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
March 5, 2010

This toolkit is a compilation of information about INA §240A(a), or LPR Cancellation of Removal. The toolkit is intended to serve as a resource for immigration attorneys representing LPR clients facing removal from the United States. In addition to describing the LPR cancellation statute, the toolkit also provides information about aggravated felonies, the discretionary component of cancellation, individuals who are ineligible for LPR cancellation, options available to those who are ineligible for LPR cancellation, and an analysis of steps to take in order to apply for LPR cancellation.

Press ReleaseCenter for Immigrants' Rights and Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center release a toolkit LPR cancellation of removal

Up Against the Asylum Clock: Fixing the Broken Employment Authorization Asylum Clock 
American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
February 12, 2010

The Center for Immigrants' Rights at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law (Center) and the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) collaborated to write this report on the asylum clock. The goals of the report are: (1) to identify problems with the government’s management of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) asylum clock; and (2) suggest a new policy for operation of the EAD asylum clock. The report incorporates information obtained by the Center and the LAC and analyzes information from attorneys, organizations, and individuals about their experiences with the “asylum clock.”

Press ReleaseNew Report on Asylum Work Authorization “Clock” Released

Playing Politics at the Bench:  A White Paper on the Justice Department’s Investigation into the Hiring Practices of Immigration Judges
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
October 1, 2009

On behalf of the National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project (NLGNIP), the Center for Immigrants' Rights (Center) at the Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law prepared a white paper facilitated by a government report on the politicized hiring of immigration judges. This white paper is based findings by the Department of Justice‘s Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General in their investigation of the illegal hiring of immigration judges during a period in the George W. Bush Administration. The recommendations presented here are a product of this analysis and extensive research on data produced by individuals and organizations committed to due process and justice in immigration law.

Press ReleaseCenter Responds to Justice Department’s Report on Hiring Practices of Immigration Judges

NSEERS: The Consequences of America's Efforts to Secure Its Borders
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Center for Immigrants’ Rights
March 31, 2009

On behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Center for Immigrants’ Rights (Center) at the Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law prepared a white paper on the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS or “special registration”). The white paper provides a legal and policy analysis of the NSEERS program, and recommendations for a new administration. In conducting the research, students at the Center interviewed immigration attorneys who have represented individuals impacted by the NSEERS program; and advocates and policymakers who have spoken or written about the NSEERS program in the larger context of United States immigration and counterterrorism policies after September 11, 2001. In addition, the Center examined governing statutes, regulations and statistics issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Finally, the Center reviewed previous reports by advocates and non-governmental organizations regarding the NSEERS program, and more than forty related federal court decisions.

Press ReleasePenn State's Center for Immigrants' Rights Report Finds Special Registration Program Counterproductive and Discriminatory