By prioritizing both legal and extra-legal advocacy, we train law students to become creative, skilled and committed public interest lawyers who further humane and progressive immigration policies and practices.

Challenging Gang Allegations Against Immigrant New Yorkers

Online Toolkit 

CUNY School of Law’s Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic launched a web-based Toolkit to help challenge gang allegations against immigrant New Yorkers, particularly those who are subjected to aggressive enforcement efforts on Long Island. The Toolkit is a compilation of resources aimed at preventing and protecting against gang allegations, challenging and defending against gang allegations in immigration proceedings, and documenting the unreliability of gang allegations and aggressive police practices.

The Toolkit contains pro se materials, practice notes, sample documentation, template letters, and various compiled materials that can be used to assist individuals facing gang allegations in proceedings before immigration court, when submitting applications to USCIS, and in schools.

Representing Asylum Seekers from NY to TX

The INRC Clinic team’s ongoing commitment to mobilizing in the face of demonstrated need continues to grow. Building on its established local partnerships, such as its work with the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice providing pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers detained at the border and transferred to Albany, New York, INRC is advocating at the U.S. & Mexico border.

Professor Talia Peleg, along with INRC students Leticia Escobar ‘21, Jo Lopez ‘20, Jackie Mann ‘20, and Dalilah Negrote ‘21 and with six other CUNY Law students and Professor Emeritus Susan Markus, traveled to Dilley, Texas to advocate on behalf of immigrant women and children imprisoned at the South Texas Residential Center. The team volunteered with Dilley Pro Bono Project, assisting asylum seekers in preparing for their credible fear interviews and appeals. Over the course of six days, twelve volunteers spent 780 hours helping immigrants prepare for 212 credible fear interviews, resulting in 201 positive findings; they also worked on six appeals and won every single one.

Hear from the students and Professor Peleg as they report back from their experiences advocating for detained women and children on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Advocating for CUNY Students with DACA Status

The INRC has also created a frequently asked questions resource for CUNY students and other New Yorkers impacted by the Administration’s termination of DACA. Though the Clinic works toward permanent status for those who have been impacted by this and other destabilizing immigration policies, this resource addresses initial questions that CUNY community members may have about immigration status, work authorization, professional licensing, parental planning, law enforcement interactions, healthcare and more.

Resources for DACA Students at CUNY          FAQs for DACA Students at CUNY

Student-led Know Your Rights Training & Workshops

The INRC has developed a community-focused approach to empowering New Yorkers who belong to communities or neighborhoods being surveilled or targeted by police. From on-site workshops and training to print collateral resources, the team connects with hundreds of New Yorkers each year.

Workshops for Long Island’s Immigrant Community Targeted by ICE

CUNY Law students provide critical information on the ways in which the federal government is using overbroad gang allegations to deport and detain Latinx communities, including how to protect and enforce their and their children’s rights in interactions with local and federal law enforcement in schools, homes, on the street and in a car. This work leverages many of the guides, palm cards, resources, and more in the Toolkit to Challenge Gang Allegations against Immigrant New Yorkers, as well as vital local partnerships with Make the Road NY’s Long Island office and S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth.

Swept Up in the Sweep

Published in May of 2018, “Swept Up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers” is a collaborative initiative led by Professors Arastu and Peleg of INRC and Professor Babe Howell, an expert in criminal law, along with INRC students and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).  The report examines how the government uses over-broad gang allegations to deport and detain Latinx communities across New York State. Grounded in an extensive field study, the report details the Administration’s use of supposed-gang enforcement to carry out punitive immigration policies and its use of arbitrary methods to profile immigrant youth of color to allege gang affiliation. As a result, immigrant youth are detained for prolonged periods, have had their visa applications denied, and have faced deportation without proper due process.

The report urges policymakers, community members, and practitioners see the broader patterns of discriminatory profiling and surveilling and prevent past mistakes. The findings of the report are based on a survey of over 40 practitioners and advocates who represent immigrant communities around New York State.

Read the report: Swept Up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers