Immigrants and refugees represent some of the most vulnerable populations in California. In 1981, Lawyers' Committee launched the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which has become one of the leading advocacy projects in the country. Since then, we have helped to protect the civil rights of tens of thousands of low-income immigrants and refugees, according them full and fair access to education, police protection and other vital government services, and safeguarding their due process and constitutional rights.
For nearly 30 years, our Asylum Program has provided legal representation for refugees who have escaped persecution and torture in their native countries. Since its inception, the program has provided help to thousands of low-income refugees from over 40 countries, with an over 95% success rate. Immigrants who are granted asylum can start their lives anew and bring spouses and children abroad to safety in the U.S.
A volunteer attorney explained what is at stake in asylum cases. After the judge granted asylum in the case, the attorney said, "We are feeling good today because we helped save a life." Lawyers' Committee also hosts a variety of workshops and trainings monthly for volunteers who do asylum work. For more information about asylum cases or to become a volunteer, e-mail Dave Rorick at email@example.com. If you are seeking help with your own asylum case, click here.
Lawyers' Committee champions immigrant rights through advocacy and impact litigation that covers a wide spectrum of work, including challenging abusive practices by government officials and safeguarding access to education, police protection and other vital government services. Our current projects include:
- Shackling of Immigrant Detainees: In August 2011, the Lawyers’ Committee, ACLU of Northern California and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati filed a class action suit to challenge the blanket shackling of adult immigration detainees during appearances in San Francisco Immigration Court. The lead plaintiff is a 35-year-old domestic violence survivor and asylum-seeker who has been shackled in court, even though she has no history of violence or disruption and has plates in her knees, legs, feet, back, and head.
- Day Labor Rights: In September 2011, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled in favor of day laborer groups in a precedent-setting case litigated by the Lawyers’ Committee and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The Ninth Circuit held that Redondo Beach’s ban on seeking work, business, or contributions in many public areas was an unconstitutional speech restriction. This is the first published federal appellate decision recognizing day laborers’ right to seek work in public spaces.