Top 9 Legal Resources for Immigration Practitioners

For the past two months, writing about the developments of what we now know as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been very exciting. It’s a discussion topic that has stirred the passions of many practitioners, would-be DACA requestors, as well as DACA opponents. One thing I’m constantly reminded throughout this process is that immigration is never straightforward. Seldom are the rules either black or white.

In fact, there’s plenty of gray, which is what I’ve noticed has been the response by manyseasoned practitioners when it comes to questions regarding various, risk-induced scenarios from potential DACA clients. Immigration practitioners must remember to marshal all resources in order to provide clients with the most up-to-date, accurate and well-researched advice as possible.Knowing what you don’t know is critical and knowing where to find the necessary resources to get an answer is the hallmark of being a competent attorney. Sometimes, as it seems in the case of DACA, you may have to pick the “best” answer given the circumstances.

KNOWING WHAT DON’T YOU KNOW

Like any good professional, it takes time to build skills and gain experience as an immigration attorney. Even within the immigration field, there are multiple areas to practice, from family immigration, deportation/removal, asylum, business, naturalization and citizenship to consular processing, and more. From having interacted with many attorneys preparing the for the DACA process, it’s clear that this application process involves many aspects of immigration law and law in general:

  • Inadmissibility Grounds and Waivers
  • Cancellation of Removal
  • Unlawful Presence Bars
  • Deportation and Removal Issues
  • Family Immigration
  • Criminal law
  • Conflicts of Issues from Representation
  • Employers Worksite Compliance

FINDING RELIABLE LEGAL RESOURCES FOR PRACTITIONERS

If you’re a practitioner who is new to any of these areas of law, locating reliable resources will be keys to obtaining the information you need. Reliable resources may be free, available at a low cost, or require your membership. Below is a list of available resources that are helpful to many immigration practitioners.

Organization Available Resources Membership Required?
Washington Defender Association Immigration Project Seattle, WAWDA’s Immigration Project is to “defend and advance the rights of noncitizens within the criminal justice system.”  This organization provides a variety of very useful publications available for free download.
-Publications
-Consultations for Attorneys
-More
 No
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)San Francisco, CAILRC provides both free and reasonably priced webinars and practice manuals devoted to immigration law.  Their latest update on the DACA Criminal bars (available in PDF) is a very useful, educational tool but should also be supplemented with either practice manuals or seasoned experience.  They provide many services and resources available to immigration attorneys.
-Publications
-Training Webinars
-Training Seminars
-Technical Assistance
-More
No
National Immigration Law Center (NILC)Los Angeles, CANILC is a great community resource.  They also provide a fairly comprehensive list of immigrant resource coalitions throughout the U.S. available here.
-Toolkits
-Trainings
-More
No
National Immigrant Justice Center Chicago, ILNIJC provides a host of attorney resources along with client services and immigrant resources.  Valuable training provided to pro bono attorneys interested in assisting NIJC.
-Training Webinars
-Practice tips
-Legal Memos and Advisories
-More
Yes, Registration Required for Pro Bono Attorneys
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild Boston, MAProvides legal assistance to practitioners and advocates in the immigration community.  The also provide an attorney directory.  It also provide advocacy for non-citizens living with AIDS/HIV.
-Briefs
-List servs
-Technical Assistance
-Seminars
-More
Yes
Immigrant Defense Project (IDP)New York, NYProvides assistance to immigrants facing criminal issues and resources related to immigration consequences of crimes in the eastern states (CT, NY, NJ, VT and PA).
-Practice Tips
-Checklists
-Publications
-More
No
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)Washington, DCA resource for many non-profit organizations, community-organizations as well as private immigration attorneys.  CLINIC serves its affiliates by providing a variety of resources.  It has selected LawLogix as its exclusive Immigration Software Partner.
-Publications
-Training Webinars
-Toolkits
-In-Person Trainings
-Conferences
-More
Yes
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)Washington, DCRequires membership in order to access most documents, list serves and message centers.  As one of the leading professional organizations for immigration lawyers, you’ll find this resource to contain a host of valuable information for your practice.
-Publications
-Training Webinars
-Multiple list servs
-Members center
-Conferences
-More
Yes
American Immigration Council (AIC)Washington, DCAIC provides multiple programs that focus on advocacy, education, resources, litigation and more in the immigration field.  AIC’s Legal Action Centerprovides a wealth of resources to immigration practitioners.
-Practice Advisories
-Litigation Resources
-Research Publications
-Statistics
-More
No

The above list may be subject to change and revision.  Did we miss an organization that provides valuable resources to practicing attorneys?  Please leave us a comment below and let us know.  Please subscribe to our blog for more resources and updates.