Asylum & Detention
IRAP is working to protect the integrity of the U.S. asylum system, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border, which remains a flashpoint in the U.S. immigration debate. Several new policies, rules, and guidelines issued over the last few years have consistently and dramatically chipped away at the long held legal protections given to asylum-seekers arriving at our borders. Together with numerous partners, IRAP is developing strategic legal and policy solutions to mount a coordinated response to these injustices. For example, IRAP has brought challenges against the Trump administration’s rules curtailing the ability of asylum seekers to work legally in the United States and the harmful rule changes that gave asylum officers broader discretion to deport asylum seekers during the credible fear interview process.
IRAP has also launched a program to provide remote legal aid to highly vulnerable asylum seekers at the El Paso-Juárez border, facilitating the delivery of legal services to a region with a severe lack of access to counsel and allowing us to identify issues in the asylum process ripe for litigation.
Client Story: Julissa
Julissa was granted asylum after she fled El Salvador seeking safety from anti-LGBTQ discrimination, but her future in the United States was still uncertain. IRAP worked with Julissa to apply for permanent residency – her green card – but excessive administrative delays meant that IRAP had to engage in extensive advocacy to cut through the red tape. Even after Julissa received her green card, her path to citizenship was not a simple one. Julissa had been subjected to discriminatory police interactions during her time in the U.S., and USCIS was trying to use information about these encounters to withhold citizenship from her. Ultimately, Julissa and IRAP were successful in getting her application approved, and Julissa was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in early 2022.
Related LitigationView All Cases
Kiakombua v. Wolf: Protecting the credible fear process for seeking asylum
This case challenged the April 2019 and September 2019 changes to the Credible Fear Interview Lesson Plan, the U.S. government’s manual for conducting a screening interview to assess whether an asylum seeker should be allowed to pursue their asylum claim in immigration court.Learn More +
Immigrant Rights Groups Demand Accountability for ‘Gross Violations of Human Rights’ at Open-Air Detention Sites at U.S.-Mexico Border
Seven immigrant rights organizations lodged an urgent federal complaint this week against the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for violating their own custody standards for asylum seekers being held in several open-air detention sites along the U.S.-Mexico border in California.
TELL YOUR SENATOR AND WHITE HOUSE LEADERS: The Lives of Asylum Seekers Are Not Bargaining Chips
Asylum is under attack. Ongoing budget negotiations could permanently destroy asylum protections for the people who need it most. Tell your Senators and White House leadership that people seeking safety aren’t bargaining chips.
“Shameful Assault on Refugees”: IRAP Condemns Proposed Asylum Ban, Biden’s Embrace of Trump-Era Immigration Policies
Today, the Biden administration proposed banning people from seeking asylum in the United States unless they first sought protection in any other countries they traveled through during their journey to safety.