CLINIC’s Litigation Program Scores Victories for Immigrants

Last Updated

June 22, 2020


CLINIC launched the Defending Vulnerable Populations, or DVP, Program in response to growing anti-immigrant sentiment and policy measures that hurt immigrants. DVP protects the rights and promotes the dignity of vulnerable immigrants by equipping advocates to present cases in immigration court and by sponsoring groundbreaking initiatives that respond to pressing needs, such as providing immigration representation to formerly separated families. A final pillar of CLINIC’s work to defend vulnerable populations is to bring litigation in the federal courts seeking judicial intervention against the government’s unlawful actions.

DVP’s federal litigation is coordinated by Federal Litigation Attorney Bradley Jenkins, who previously managed CLINIC’s BIA Pro Bono Project. With Mr. Jenkins as counsel of record, DVP’s Litigation team filed its first case in May 2019, challenging the denial of naturalization to a Haitian grandmother and widow. Since then, CLINIC's Defending Vulnerable Populations Program has filed 12 cases in the federal district courts and six petitions for review in the federal appellate courts, served as counsel of record to an asylum seeker whose case was certified directly to the Attorney General, and joined 18 amicus briefs. CLINIC’s efforts have resulted in significant decisions protecting immigrants, including:

  • A federal court declaration that Kenneth Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed as the Acting Director of USCIS and, therefore, certain policies he enacted were void;
  • An injunction preventing USCIS from changing its fee waiver policy for low income immigrants;
  • An order requiring the asylum office to preserve protections for asylum seeking unaccompanied minors; and
  • A precedential decision holding that a citizenship statute violated the constitutional principle of equal protection of the laws.

CLINIC’s litigation team also secured victory for several individual immigrants. An African immigrant won asylum after the Eleventh Circuit stayed his deportation. A Sri Lankan father was reunited with his wife and daughter after five years of separation caused by an unjustified delay in their visa processing. A probable U.S. citizen was released from detention after a federal court granted his habeas petition.

Through the DVP team’s litigation program, CLINIC is now fighting for noncitizens on another front and winning. When immigration agencies unlawfully harm immigrants, our network can depend on CLINIC to appear in court to stop them. If you’d like to support CLINIC’s efforts to defend immigrants, please donate.