Over the past four years, federal agencies and their employees have engaged in abusive, harassing, and illegal behavior against immigrants, advocates, and attorneys. As we transition to a new administration, we cannot simply “turn the page” and move on without holding agencies accountable for those abuses. It is critical to recognize and change the toxic culture within immigration and law enforcement agencies that led to such abuses, and to engage government accountability mechanisms whose role it is to address and discipline such behavior.

NIPNLG compiled both formal and informal complaints from immigration advocates and attorneys in a report, Complaints Ignored, Abuses Excused: Why the Department of Homeland Security’s Internal Accountability Mechanisms Must Be Reformed. The cases highlighted in the report present a small sampling of the widespread and systematic harm these agencies continue to inflict on immigrants without being held to account. To find out more about this project, contact Chris Rickerd or Cristina Velez at cvelez@nipnlg.org.

Public Comment to USCIS on EAD Renewal Extensions

On May 4, 2022, USCIS issued a temporary final rule providing for automatic renewal of certain employment authorization documents (EADs) for up to 540 days, as long as the noncitizen timely submitted the renewal application. Previously, USCIS granted an extension of up to 180 days, but renewal delays often stretch beyond that period, forcing many noncitizens to stop working or violate the immigration law. While NIPNLG believes USCIS must finding a more permanent solution to the EAD backlog, we applaud USCIS for providing relief through this rule to those who would otherwise lose their ability to work through no fault of their own. Read the comment here.

Public Comment to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requested public input in April 2022 on specific processes, programs, regulations, collections of information, and policies for the agency to consider modifying, streamlining, expanding, or repealing in light of recent executive orders. Specifically, CBP stated in its request for input that it aims to ensure that its policies align with Executive Orders 13985, 13990, and 14008, which call on federal agencies to advance equity for all, including those in underserved communities; protect public health and the environment and restore science to tackle the climate crisis; and bolster resilience from the effects of climate change, particularly for those disproportionately affected by climate change.

In its response, NIPNLG focuses on two issues that CBP must systematically and urgently address-language access for persons with limited English proficiency and asylum access and safety for all at the border.

Questions about this public comment? Contact agarcia@nipnlg.org.

Public Comment to Family Reunification Task Force

On December 10, 2021, the Biden administration's Family Reunification Task Force requested public input on how the government can prevent family separation from occurring again in the future. The request came more than three years after the Trump administration began prosecuting parents who had entered the United States with their children for unlawful entry or re-entry. This led to the unconscionable separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents. NIPNLG staff have extensive experience working directly with families affected by the Zero Tolerance policy and NIPNLG is class counsel to the Parent Asylum class in the Ms. L. v. ICE family separation litigation.

In a public comment, NIPNLG calls on the federal government to fully investigate the Trump administration's Zero Tolerance family separation policy and commit to full accountability for those separations. The comment also recommends that the federal government end ongoing Trump-era border policies that are resulting in family separation, repeal the laws that callously criminalize migration, and address the unconscionable backlogs of the Asylum Division of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Questions about this public comment? Contact agarcia@nipnlg.org.

Letter to DHS's Office of the Principal Legal Advisor

On March 15, 2022, the National Immigration Project joined the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to express deep concern with increasing arguments by attorneys in the OPLA department that seek to undermine a California post-conviction law, California Penal Code 1473.7(a)(1)--a critical vehicle for remedying convictions that violated the legal rights guaranteed to people charged with criminal offenses.

Read the letter »
Case Chart - BIA Cases Citing to 1473.7 and Motions to Vacate »

Letter to DHS and DOJ Advocating for the Elimination of the Asylum EAD Clock

On March 8, 2023, the National Immigration Project, and several other immigration legal services and advocacy organizations sent a letter to leadership at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, calling on the agencies to eliminate the asylum "clock" in adjudicating employment authorization documents based on pending asylum cases. The letter explains that the "clock" is not required by statute, creates hardship for asylum seekers, and requires the agencies to expend valuable resources to administer it.

Read the letter »