The National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area is excited to announce the launch of a revitalized Immigration Justice Program, signaling our renewed commitment to fighting for migrant rights in the face of increased oppression against undocumented and immigrant communities. For years, NLGSF has been building an important foundation for immigration justice through the dedicated, radical organizing of our chapter’s Immigration Committee.

Some successes of this committee include the creation of the Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP), annual immigration Know Your Rights training of trainer workshops, several legal advocacy trips to the U.S.-Tijuana border and hosting regular political space for immigrant rights attorneys, legal workers, law students and activists. As the reality of an increasingly hostile administration has settled in, it has become clear that our organizing requires more robust political objectives and direction.

In order to ramp up this work, NLGSF is committed to dedicating more staff resources to grow our immigration program, building stronger collaboration with new and existing organizational partners, creating more responsibilities for volunteers and members and identifying clear political objectives for the program. We have identified a couple of overarching political objectives to shape our direction for the new Immigration Justice Program:

  • Advance and support the immigrant justice movement by providing legal advocacy and litigation in support of activism
  • Revitalize the Immigration Committee as a political home for activist immigration lawyers, legal workers, grassroots activists and most impacted members
  • Building a politics of disruptive lawyering and organizing
  • Deepening relationships with organizational partners in the immigrant rights movement

To move us toward these goals, we are announcing several exciting updates for 2020:

  • NLGSF has hired a new Immigration Justice Coordinator, April Newman, who will lead us in implementing the groundwork for the new program
  • In Fall 2020, we will launch a revamped Immigration Court Observation Program which builds on stronger collaboration with organizational partners and includes a sharper focus on dismantling unjust immigration practices and systems

Main areas of NLGSF’s Immigration Justice Program

  • An expanded collaborative Immigration Court Observation Program that builds on new and existing partnerships, increases our capacity to observe and advocate for immigrants and utilizes data tactically in support of broader movement work
  • Launching organizing campaigns focused on disrupting immigration practices and systems that target low-income immigrants and undocumented individuals, which draw on multiple tactics including court observation, legal advocacy and targeted media campaigns
  • A hub for political education, skill-building and relationship building around disruptive lawyering and immigrant justice activism for law students, legal workers, immigrant justice activists and attorneys

Finally, we hope you will join us in the coming months for these immigration related events:

  • A virtual CLE on Movement Lawyering for Migrant Rights (TBD at NLG-SF Immigration Justice meeting below)
  • Virtual Immigration Committee meeting: Hear more about the immigration justice program, inform campaign direction, learn ways to plug in and meet April and new Immigration Justice Committee Board representative, Lisa Knox (last week of May)
  • Immigration Court Observation Program trainings (TBD – pending shelter in place)

To stay plugged into Immigration Justice Program updates and join the Immigration Justice Committee meeting later in May, please subscribe to our newsletter and contact April Newman, Immigration Justice Coordinator, at migrantjustice@nlgsf.org.