Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Welcome to the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law. The Center is a non-profit, public interest legal foundation dedicated to furthering and protecting the civil, constitutional, and human rights of immigrants, refugees, children, prisoners, and the poor.
Since its incorporation in 1980, under the leadership of a board of directors comprising civil rights attorneys, community advocates and religious leaders, the Center has provided a wide range of legal services to vulnerable low-income victims of human and civil rights violations and technical support and training to hundreds of legal aid attorneys and paralegals in the areas of immigration law, constitutional law, and complex and class action litigation.
The Center has achieved major victories in numerous major cases in the courts of the United States and before international bodies that have directly benefited hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged persons.
Bienvenido a la página del Centro por Derechos Humanos y Ley Constitucional. El Centro es una organización no-lucrativa que se dedica para el bienestar público y para promover y proteger los derechos civiles, constitucionales, y humanos de inmigrantes, refugiados, menores de edad, y los pobres.
Les damos la bienvenida a estudiantes, abogados, u otros voluntarios disponibles a unirse con los esfuerzos del Centro a proteger y promover derechos humanos y civiles en el ámbito nacional e internacional.
Last November, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that would halt the immediate deportation of 4.4 million undocumented immigrants and render another 290,000 eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In response, opponents – a coalition of 25 states, led by Texas – filed suit in federal court challenging the president's authority to unilaterally act on the matter. Last Thursday, Jan. 15, in Brownsville, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen heard arguments on the injunction; he said he wouldn't issue a ruling on the request before Jan. 30. But this latest salvo isn't exactly striking fear in the hearts of Austin's immigrant rights advocates. Instead, it's seen as nothing more than a political statement with little chance of prevailing in court. Read More
Little more than half of the nearly 13,000 children who have faced deportation proceedings in California since 2005 have had attorneys. Now, a state law passed in September gives local attorneys the means to represent more of the growing wave of Central American children crossing into the United States. The new law completes an about-face in state policy 20 years after Proposition 187 barred those in the country illegally from public services like health care and education. “It’s a major political change by the state of California to recognize that this really is a human rights situation,” Read More
The New York Immigration Coalition will be pushing the DREAM Act this coming legislative session, as well as other reforms they say would help unaccompanied immigrant children and prepare the state to meet President Obama's executive action that expands who can apply for deferred status.
When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto last met with President Obama he was riding a wave of legislative success and media adulation, but terrifying events in 2014 have changed all that. The two presidents are meeting again this week after alarming revelations about of murders and abductions in Iguala and elsewhere in Mexico involving police, army, and criminal organizations connected to high-ranking politicians have shaken the country and fundamentally altered the political terrain of the bi-national relationship. Read more
1. Close the door on Torture; 2. Shutter the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay; 3. Strengthen our immigration and asylum system by fully funding immigration courts; 4. Increase efforts to disrupt the criminal enterprise of human trafficking; 5. Create a Special Envoy for the human rights of LGBT people in the State Department. Read more
Under the Arizona law, undocumented immigrants can be charged with felony identity theft if they use fake documents to get work, even if those documents do not use real IDs and Social Security numbers. In the past six years, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has arrested more than 700 people in about 80 raids on workplaces. On January 5, 2015, U.S. District Judge David Campbell issued a preliminary injunction barring both the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and County Attorney Bill Montgomery from enforcing an Arizona law. Read more
In 2014 one of the most controversial practices in criminal justice, solitary confinement, faced unprecedented challenges. As a result of legislation or lawsuits, ten states adopted 14 measures aimed at curtailing the use of solitary, abolishing solitary for juveniles or the mentally ill, improving conditions in segregated units, or gradually easing isolated inmates back into the general population. In 2014 the correctional officers’ union in Texas even called for doing away with solitary confinement on death row, stating in a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that if inmates are stripped of all privileges they become harder to manage and more dangerous to corrections officers. Read more
How Obama's immigration plan is expected to roll out. President Obama's new set of immigration policies could affect several million people, including the possibility of a three-year reprieve from the threat of deportation for parents of US citizen children. The new year will see those policies coming into effect. Also ahead in 2015 are important shifts in how agents will enforce immigration laws to focus more on deporting people with lengthy or violent criminal records and less on people whose only crimes are immigration offenses. Read more
The Center is a legal services support center with recognized expertise in complex litigation, constitutional law, and laws targeting vulnerable insular populations including immigrants, refugees, at-risk children, survivors of domestic violence, prisoners in solitary confinement, and member of LGBT communities. A partial list of the Center's major litigation includes the following cases: Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982) (lead counsel for state-wide class of undocumented children denied access to public elementary education because of their immigration status); Reno v. Catholic Social Services, 509 U.S. 43 (1993) (national class action on behalf of persons unlawfully denied legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986); Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993) (national class action on behalf of children denied release on bail pending the outcome of deportation proceedings); League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wilson, 131 F. 3d 1297 (9th Cir. 1997)(state-wide class action challenging on due process, equal protection and premption grounds the constitutionality of a voter-approved state Proposition denying health care, social services and education to suspected undocumented children and adults); and Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith, 541 F.Supp. 351 (C.D. Cal. 1982) (national class of Salvadoran nationals seeking political asylum in the United States).
Our work focuses on the following: 1. Federal litigation in support of abused, abandoned, and neglected immigrant and refugee children eligible to legalize status as Special Immigrant Juveniles. 2. Enforcing the rights of children detained pending deportation or removal to appropriate placement and services. 3. Federal litigation involving efforts by state and local governments to enforce federal immigration laws. 4. Litigation, legislative advocacy and policy analysis to address the rights of immigrants to state driver’s licenses. 5. Protecting the rights of immigrant survivors of crime, human trafficking, and domestic violence. We also work in other areas of law and policy identified as priorities by IOLTA-recipients. CHRCL welcomes the input of Trust Fund programs into its priority setting process.
Read about our legal support services here.
The Casa Kauai's mission is to provide a relaxed atmosphere and high quality space in a peaceful and natural environment far from the daily stress of one's usual work for the creation, discussion, and development of projects and programs related to the protection and promotion of social justice, including human rights, economic rights, environmental protection, and cultural preservation.
We also intend that the retreat center be
available for use by individuals who are making
a significant contribution to the cause of
social justice through their activities and who
would like to spend time in a peaceful setting
to rest and recuperate from their work.
Click here to learn more about
reserving Casa Kauai.
Follow us on FACEBOOK and Like us to show your support for CHRCL
Solitary Confinement in CA Prisons
Immigrant Family and the Defense of Marriage Act
Casa Libre: shelter for homeless unaccompanied immigrant children
Voces Unidas: a bi-lingual nationwide resource database for abused women and children and their advocates
The Legalization Site
Unaccompanied Minors Project
Tents 4 Homeless