The CILA-NILA Partnership Offers Helpful Resources & Trainings for Representing Immigrant Youth in Federal Court

CILA, a project of the ABA’s Commission on Immigration, has partnered with the National Immigration Litigation Alliance (NILA) since 2020 to create many trainings and resources for advocates working with immigrant youth in federal courts. Covering a wide variety of topics and claims, these materials support practitioners by providing detailed trainings, sample pleadings, practice advisories, and other helpful tools. All materials are available for free on CILA’s website, and below is a helpful summary of some key resources. Attorneys and legal staff are encouraged to use these resources and to reach out to CILA if you have any questions or feedback.

Practical Guidance & Tools

1) Intro to Federal Court Practice – Two part webinar series (Part I, Part II, slides) designed for new practitioners on the nuts and bolts of litigating in federal district court. Guide to Completing Form JS-44, Civil Cover Sheet details how to fill out one of the core filings for any complaint filed in a district court.

2) Habeas Petitions 101: Law and PracticalitiesWebinar designed for newer practitioners on the nuts and bolts of habeas corpus petitions challenging immigration detention. The Practice Advisory “Nuts and Bolts of Habeas Corpus Petitions Challenging Immigration Detention” walks through the petition process with additional details on the applicable laws, when to seek release, exhaustion requirements, how to file, service of process, appointment of counsel, attorneys’ fees, and what to expect after a petition is filed. Materials include a template with a sample Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

3) Petitions for Review and Judicial Stays of Removal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals 101Webinar and slides on how to file a petition for review in federal circuit court to challenge a final administrative removal order. The Practice Advisory “Fifth Circuit Petitions for Review” covers the applicable laws, filing process, and what to expect after filing petitions for review in the Fifth Circuit, including a detailed overview of the anticipated motions practice, briefing, and post-briefing process.

4) Mandamus Actions 101 – Law and PracticalitiesWebinar and slides on how to use mandamus and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claims to compel the government to adjudicate overdue petitions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) classification. A Practice Advisory “Mandamus and APA Actions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions” contains a detailed overview of the governing statues and laws and common issues related to jurisdiction, venue, parties, and statutory bars. Materials include a template with a sample Complaint for SIJS Delay Cases filed in Texas district court.

5) Filing Administrative Claims for Wrongful Conduct Webinar and slides on how to file administrative claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for clients that have been subjected to physical or verbal abuse, wrongfully detained or deported, or victimized by some other wrongful conduct by immigration officers. An “Administrative FTCA Claim Packet Checklist” provides sample pleadings, including the cover letter, claim authorization, Standard Form 95 (SF-95), index of exhibits, and exhibits.

6) Challenging USCIS’ Denial of a Petition for SIJS Under the APAWebinar and slides cover the basics of challenging USCIS’ denial of a petition for SIJS in federal court under the APA. The Practice Advisory “Immigration Lawsuits and the APA: The Basics of a District Court Action” contains in depth analysis of the applicable laws with detailed discussions of issues related to, venue, jurisdiction, the limitations period, the elements of the claim, the parties, potential remedies, attorneys’ fees, and the discovery process.

7) Seeking Attorneys’ Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act Webinar on seeking fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) that includes best practices, statutory requirements, and tips for the settlement process. Materials include a template with a sample a Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses using Fifth Circuit law.

8) Winning at the BIAWebinar and slides provide an overview of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) appeal process with practice tips for preparing and filing a successful BIA appeal.

Key Cases & Legal Developments

Litigation for Unaccompanied Children: Updates and Foundational Cases –Quarterly series offered throughout 2022 that covers key cases from federal courts and the BIA, what they mean for children in immigration court and how to use or distinguish them. Each series includes a 90-minute presentation, accompanying slides, and a written handout with case summaries and practice pointers.

WebinarCase TopicsHandoutSlides
January 2022Eligibility of individuals with approved SIJS petitions to get employment authorization documents; aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Niz-ChavezQ1 HandoutQ1 Slides
April 2022Ongoing Title 42 cases; service of NTA on minors; Chevron deference and asylum; 18 & over SIJS petitionsQ2 HandoutQ2 Slides
July 2022Asylum in the Fifth Circuit; enforcing protections for unaccompanied children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA); discretionary relief review; Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)Q3 HandoutQ3 Slides
October 2022Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) detention; venue for petitions for review; notices to appear and in absentia orders; asylum lawQ4 HandoutQ4 Slides

Niz-Chavez, Pereira, and Notices to AppearWebinar addressing the impact of Supreme Court’s decisions in Pereira v. Sessions and Niz-Chavez v. Garland on a noncitizen’s options for relief from removal, including cancellation of removal and post-conclusion voluntary departure. The webinar includes arguments to support recission of an in absentia removal order and termination of removal proceedings based on these decisions.

Research & Writing Tips

Legal Writing–Webinar that provides practical tips on how to write persuasively, properly cite sources, and stay organized in the writing process.

Advanced Immigration Legal Research – Webinar on how to organize research and effectively search for cases, secondary sources, and legislative history, with a focus on Lexis and Westlaw and suggestions for locating materials in other sources.

Demystifying the Litigation Process

Ready to Win: Moving Beyond Trying Cases at the Immigration Judge Level – Webinar featuring all-star federal court litigators that is designed to build the capacity of the immigration bar by motivating attorneys to take appeals to the BIA, petitions for review, or actions in federal district court.