News & Resources

CLE Training: The Ethics of Representing Clients with Criminal Contacts

Description: Contact with the criminal legal system can create unique risks and complications for an immigrant client. The Immigrant Defense Project Helpline provides individualized analysis of the effect of any contact with the criminal legal system on a person’s immigration status, and gives clear, accurate, individualized advice to legal service providers by serving as crim-imm experts. This training is intended … Read more »

Civil Rights Groups, Lawmakers Call On NYC And NY State To ‘Ban The Scan’, Outlaw Facial Recognition

New York, NY – On Tuesday, January 26,, Amnesty International, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Legal Aid Society, National Action Network, Warriors In The Garden, Immigrant Defense Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other advocates held an online press conference calling … Read more »

Immigrant Defense Project and the ICE Out of Courts Coalition Celebrate Signing of Protect Our Courts Act

For Immediate Release December 15, 2020 Immigrant Defense Project and the ICE Out of Courts Coalition Celebrate Signing of Protect Our Courts Act  With Governor’s Signature, New Law Prohibits ICE From Using Courts to Trap Immigrant New Yorkers NEW YORK— With Governor’s Cuomo signing the Protect Our Courts Act (S425/A2176) into law today, New York has taken a momentous step … Read more »

Ten years later, fulfilling the promise of Padilla v. Kentucky

by Manny Vargas As COVID-19 hit New York and the nation in March, an important immigrant rights’ anniversary date passed largely unnoticed – the tenth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 31, 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky. For immigrants, Padilla represented a groundbreaking recognition by the highest Court in the country that for noncitizens, the constitutional right to … Read more »

Detention Litigation

Background IDP engages in litigation efforts to challenge the unjust detention of immigrants. Our ongoing work primarily focuses on habeas corpus petitions before the federal courts and bond litigation before immigration courts. Specifically, IDP has supported legal challenges to mandatory detention based on previous criminal convictions or classification as an “arriving alien,” detention pending a final order of removal where … Read more »

Criminal Process and Procedure

Background IDP engages in strategic litigation before both federal and New York State courts to ensure full and fair proceedings for noncitizen defendants facing criminal charges. Since its inception, IDP has worked to establish all immigrants’ constitutional rights before the criminal courts, including the right to effective assistance of counsel and the right to appeal convictions. IDP continues to build … Read more »

“Particularly Serious Crimes”

Background The United States has long offered protected status to those fleeing persecution abroad in the form of Asylum and Withholding of Removal. Under its obligations under the U.N. Refugee Convention to which the U.S. is a party, only the most serious criminal convictions that present actual danger to the community in the United States can bar a person from … Read more »

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

Background IDP supports litigants in cases addressing whether certain offenses are categorically deemed “crimes involving moral turpitude” under immigration law, advocating for the strict application of the categorical approach. Practice Advisories Practice Advisory: Litigating CIMT Theft Removal Charges and Adjudicative Retroactivity in the Second Circuit After Obeya v. Sessions (April 18, 2018, by IDP) Addendum: Exploring Applications of the Anti-Retroactivity Holding of Obeya … Read more »

Records of Conviction and the Burden of Proof

Background IDP is engaged in litigation before the federal courts and BIA challenging government efforts to bar noncitizens from establishing eligibility for relief from removal or eligibility for lawful status solely because a “record of conviction” is merely ambiguous as to whether the conviction is for a disqualifying offense under immigration law. Under the government’s view, noncitizens could be barred … Read more »


Background IDP participates in litigation efforts to limit retroactive application of new laws and policies that restrict the rights of immigrants. For example, IDP has worked to prevent retroactive application of certain provisions of the 1996 laws, such as the repeal of former 212(c) relief and restrictions on re-entry for lawful permanent residents. Practice Advisories Matter of Abdelghany: Implications for … Read more »

Finality of Convictions

Background IDP engages in strategic litigation before the immigration agencies and the federal courts in support of the conviction “finality rule,” which is the longstanding rule that a criminal conviction may not trigger certain immigration consequences unless all direct appeals of right have been exhausted or waived.  Practice Advisories The Conviction Finality Requirement in Light of Matter of J.M. Acosta: The Law … Read more »

Drug Offenses

Background The War on Drugs has long impacted immigrant communities. In 1996, Congress enacted legislation hugely expanding the numbers of immigrants subject to mandatory detention, deportation, and denial of lawful status based on state drug offenses. Successive administrations have sought to apply the drug provisions of immigration laws extremely aggressively.  IDP works with litigants before the federal courts and immigration … Read more »

Using and Defending the Categorical Approach

Background IDP engages in litigation to defend the application of the “categorical approach” to safeguard fairness in immigration adjudications. Under the immigration laws, a noncitizen generally is not subject to negative immigration consequences, including removal, based on a criminal conviction unless that conviction fits categorically within one of the INA’s criminal removal grounds.  The categorical approach requires adjudicators to determine whether … Read more »

BREAKING: Judge Stops Trump Administration Efforts to Bar More from Asylum

For Immediate Release November 19, 2020 BREAKING: Judge Stops Trump Administration Efforts to Bar More from Asylum Just One Day Before They Were Slated to Go Into Effect, Federal Judge Enjoins Broad Rules That Would Have Vastly Expanded Categorical Bars to Asylum New York/Washington/San Francisco – On Thursday, a federal judge in the Northern District of California issued a nationwide … Read more »

ICE Policing

Background In connection with our work on Community Defense from ICE Raids and Deportation, IDP engages in litigation efforts to uncover and challenge immigration policing practices. IDP monitors ICE raids in the New York City area and supports immigrants who seek to challenge their arrests before the federal courts and immigration agencies. IDP also supports systemic litigation before the federal … Read more »

Immigration Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration Efforts to Bar More from Asylum

For Immediate Release November 2, 2020 Immigration Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration Efforts to Bar More from Asylum  Groups Say Broad Rules Could Bar Asylum Seekers Convicted of Low Level Offenses and Even People Who Are Not Convicted of a Crime  New York/Washington/San Francisco – Four immigrant rights organizations—Pangea Legal Services, Dolores Street Community Services, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, … Read more »

Immigration Consequences of a Marijuana Offense

You probably know that people of color, which include immigrants, are disproportionately targeted in marijuana arrests by the police. You might not know that non-citizens get punished beyond the already harsh consequences of a marijuana conviction. Overnight, the lives they’ve built in the U.S. over decades can be destroyed. They can be torn from their families and exiled to a … Read more »

ICE Car Stops – KYR

Car Stops – Resource & Know Your Rights Handout IDP has developed a two-page resource explaining what to do if you are the driver or the passenger of a car that is stopped by ICE. Includes a two-page pullout sheet that explains your rights and what to say if ICE stops you in a car. Available here in English. Disponible … Read more »

CLE Training: Crim-Imm 101: Understanding Immigration Status for Defense Attorneys

Description: In 2010 the Supreme Court decided ​Padilla v. Kentucky​, holding the 6th Amendment requires criminal defense counsel to advise non-citizen clients about the immigration consequences that could arise from the decision to plead guilty or go to trial. Since ​Padilla ​was decided, it has become more necessary than ever for defense attorneys to advise immigrant clients about not only … Read more »