Category: Policy & Social Change

HIRC files amicus brief on so-called Migrant Protection Protocols

On August 8, our program submitted an amicus brief on behalf of legal service providers, law school clinics, and community organizations regarding the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). This inhumane policy forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as they wait to proceed with their asylum claims in the United States. Despite its name, the…
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Safe Third Country Agreement is ruled unconstitutional

On July 22, a federal court in Canada ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the United States violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, the equivalent to the U.S. Bill of Rights in its constitution. Under this agreement, in effect since 2004, Canada has refused to consider refugee claims presented…
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HIRC submits comments on proposed EOIR fee increases

On March 30th, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) submitted comments opposing the proposed rule of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) that would increase filing fees charged for certain EOIR forms. HIRC argues that these fee increases are excessive and unjust, and could ultimately deny many immigrants access to justice. In…
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HIRC submits comments on proposed regulations on asylum

The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) recently submitted comments urging the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to withdraw their proposed amendments on asylum procedures and bars to asylum, which jeopardize the lives and safety of countless refugees. The proposed rules would add seven categorical bars to asylum, including to…
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HIRC files amicus brief on courthouse arrests

On October 15th, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) and Ropes & Gray LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Justice at Work in support of the motion to dismiss the obstruction of justice charges against District Court Judge Shelley Joseph. Judge Joseph was indicted…
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HIRC submits comments on proposed rule on public charge

On December 10, HIRC submitted comments on the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” proposed rule. HIRC strongly opposes this proposal for three main reasons: (1) the proposal would create a chilling effect, (2) the proposal creates barriers to immigrants’ self-sufficiency, and (3) the proposal fails to acknowledge the contributions of immigrants, unnecessarily penalizing those who speak limited…
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Student perspective: The case for legislative advocacy

I never expected to put my legislative advocacy skills to work in academia until the presidential election, when immigration issues changed overnight. Along with more than 300 students at Harvard Law School, I joined the Immigration Response Initiative, volunteering to help HIRC and advocacy groups.

HIRC co-authors amicus brief on material support bar

Earlier this week, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) co-authored a brief to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) on the “material support” bar to asylum, arguing that the word “material” must be given independent meaning in order to ensure that victims of terrorism are not unfairly denied humanitarian protection.

From one immigrant to another, raising awareness through Know Your Rights trainings

When my clinical instructor, Sabi Ardalan, told me about an opportunity to present at a workshop at UMass Boston (UMB) on the implications of the recent executive orders, I immediately signed up. Remembering that sense of hopelessness I felt as a non-citizen, I thought that empowering immigrants with knowledge of the executive orders and their rights was one of the best ways I could contribute.

HIRC students testify at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing on executive orders

Despite the glaring absence of the U.S. government officials, we civil society organizations had productive conversations with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Malene and I testified that the executive orders greatly curtail asylum seekers’ ability to meaningfully pursue their claims for protection and increase the risk of deportation to countries where they face persecution or torture.