National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.



Cover of "Immigrant-inclusive State and Local Policies"

Immigrant-inclusive State and Local Policies Move Ahead in 2014–15

After a landmark year in 2013, the immigrant-inclusive state measures enacted that year were implemented and gained ground in 2014–15. States continued to expand access to higher education, driver’s licenses, health care, and professional licenses for eligible immigrants, regardless of their immigration status. Cities and counties adopted policies aimed at disentangling local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement and explored providing access to legal counsel, health care, and municipal identification documents to their residents. State and local governments established offices charged with integrating immigrants and invested in assistance for people seeking U.S. citizenship or other immigration relief. Although a few restrictive measures passed—and though some serious threats are ongoing—immigrants’ rights advocates and allies defeated virtually all of the significant anti-immigrant proposals filed in the past two years.

Published by NILC, December 2015; 30 pp.


Cover of "DACA: A Guide for Educators"

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:
A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff

Created for educators and service providers who teach, mentor and help our American undocumented youth (DREAMers). Educators, school support staff and service providers are often the first people a student comes out to as an undocumented immigrant, a trend that will likely continue under the federal government program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It’s critically important that educators and service providers know about the tools and resources available to help guide undocumented youth to become “DACAmented.”

Compiled by NILC, United We Dream’s DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP), Own the DREAM, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Published by AFT in April 2014; 14 pp.


Access to education toolkit - screenshot of contentsToolkit:
Access to Driver's Licenses

An online toolkit for advocates, divided into the following sections: State Laws and Policies; Fact Sheets, Talking Points, Policy Analysis; Campaign Materials; and Legislative Testimony, Research, and Related Issues.

Published by NILC in October 2013. Periodically updated.


Cover of Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States

Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States:
Immigrants' Access to Drivers' Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights, and Community Policing

As Congress debated federal immigration reform this year, states led the way by adopting policies designed to integrate immigrants more fully into their communities. In the wake of the 2012 elections, with Latino and Asian voters participating in record numbers, the 2013 state legislative sessions witnessed a significant increase in pro-immigrant activity. Issues that had been dormant or had moved in a restrictive direction for years, such as expanding access to driver’s licenses, gained considerable traction, along with measures improving access to education and workers’ rights for immigrants.

Published by NILC. First published August 2013; updated October 2013; 21 pp.


Cover of Verification NationVerification Nation:
How E-Verify Affects America’s Workers

As part of the current national dialogue about reforming our country’s immigration laws, legislators in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have proposed a national mandate to require all employers to use E-Verify—an electronic employment eligibility verification system—to check their workers’ eligibility to be employed in the United States. In the midst of these discussions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released to the public a study narrowly focused on the E-Verify program’s accuracy rates. In this report, we analyze the findings of the USCIS-commissioned study and examine, more broadly, the adverse impacts on workers that would result from a national E-Verify mandate.

Published by NILC, August 2013; revised November 2013; 19 pp.


Access to education toolkit - screenshot of contentsImproving Access to Postsecondary Education for Immigrant Students:
Resources on State Campaigns for Tuition Equity, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

A comprehensive online advocacy toolkit, divided into the following sections: Background on Tuition Equity Measures; State Laws & Policies; Student Profiles; Estimates of Eligible Students; Sample State Fiscal Analyses; Social & Economic Impact of Improving Access to Higher Education for Immigrant Students; Public Opinion; Legal Challenges; Resources for Organizers; and Resources on Financial Aid, Scholarships & Student Advocacy Groups.

First published by NILC in October 2012. Periodically updated.


Cover of Racial Profiling After HB 56Racial Profiling After HB 56:
Stories from the Alabama Hotline

Incidents reported by callers to the hotline reveal three dangerous trends: that the enactment of HB 56 has created a damaging environment of racial profiling by law enforcement officials; that the law’s provisions constitute state-sanctioned discrimination that, in turn, encourages private citizens to discriminate against and abuse people they suspect may be “foreign”; and that the provision requiring Alabama school officials to determine the immigration status of enrolled students (or that of their parents) has discouraged attendance and encouraged discrimination based on students’ appearance and perceived ethnicity.

Because the federal district court in Alabama declined to enjoin provisions in HB 56 that are similar to the “show-me-your-papers” provision of Arizona’s SB 1070, what began to happen in Alabama last fall provides a clear and deeply troubling preview of what we’re likely to see soon in Arizona, as well as in any other states that enact or enforce SB 1070 or HB 56 copycats.

Published by NILC, August 2012, 11 pp.


Cover of Guide to Defeating ICE Hold RequestsThe All-in-One Guide to Defeating ICE Hold Requests (aka Immigration Detainers)

This toolkit is designed to help communities prevent deportations by keeping local police separate from immigration enforcement. The essential link between police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcment (ICE) is the ICE hold request, also known as an immigration detainer. On the basis of ICE hold requests, state and local police hold people in jail longer in order to hand them over to ICE.

Even if federal enforcement initiatives such as Secure Communities, 287(g), and the Criminal Alien Program continue to operate, they are only as effective as ICE hold requests allow them to be. Several communities have succeeded in enacting policies to stop submitting to ICE hold requests, and this toolkit is designed to help other communities establish similar policies.

Published by Washington Defender Association, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, National Immigration Law Center, and Immigrant Defense Project, 2012, 42 pp.


Cover of Deportation without Due ProcessState Immigration-related Legislation:
Last Year’s Key Battles Set the Stage for 2012

In 2011, state legislators introduced a record number of immigration-related measures, but, all-told, states enacted fewer measures than many had predicted after the conservative political shift associated with the 2010 state elections.

This wrap-up summarizes 2011’s battles in four key areas that, in 2012, will continue to play a prominent role in states’ debates: (1) laws inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070, the contentious bill passed in 2009; (2) laws mandating E-Verify enrollment and use; (3) laws requiring applicants for public benefits to verify their citizenship or immigration status; and (4) laws addressing immigrants’ access to higher education.

Published by NILC, Jan. 2012, 12 pp.


Cover of Deportation without Due ProcessDeportation Without Due Process:
The U.S. Has Used Its "Stipulated Removal" Program to Deport More Than 160,000 Noncitizens Without Hearings Before Immigration Judges

Using a little-known government program, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has pushed nearly 160,000 immigrants — many with deep ties to the United States — through an expedited deportation process, sometimes without adequately informing them of their right to a day in court, according to a new analysis of thousands of pages of released government documents.

The report, written by attorneys and law professors at Stanford Law School, NILC, and Western State University College of Law, determined that DHS agents administering the program provided legally inaccurate portrayals of the opportunities to remain in the U.S. in order to boost deportation numbers, even though judges and others involved in the program voiced their concerns about how the program short-circuited individuals’ rights.

Published by NILC, Western State Immigration Clinic, & Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Sept. 2011, 30 pp.


A Broken System:
Confidential Reports Reveal Failures in U.S. Immigrant Detention Centers

This report presents the first-ever system-wide look at the federal government’s compliance with its own standards regulating immigrant detention facilities, a view based on previously unreleased first-hand reports of monitoring inspections. The results reveal substantial and pervasive violations of the government’s minimum standards for conditions at such facilities.

As a result, over 320,000 immigrants locked up each year not only face tremendous obstacles to challenging wrongful detention or winning their immigration cases, but the conditions in which these civil detainees are held often are as bad as or worse than those faced by imprisoned criminals.

Published by NILC, July 2009; 170 pp.


Guide to Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs (Fourth Edition, 2002)

Comprehensive, authoritative reference with chapters on 23 major federal programs and tables outlining who is eligible for which state replacement programs. Overview chapter and tables explain changes to immigrant eligibility enacted by 1996 welfare and immigration laws. Text describes immigration statuses, gives pictures of typical immigration documents, with keys to understanding the immigration codes. Glossary defines over 250 immigration and public benefits terms.

Published by NILC, 2002. ISBN 0967980208, 222 pp.: perfect bound. More information and how to order here.