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Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law


"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those  
            who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."       
- Franklin D. Roosevelt                            
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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, and the poor.

Since its incorporation in 1980, under the leadership of a board of directors made up of 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 how to litigate complex class action cases.

The Center has achieved major victories in class action cases in the courts of the United States and before international bodies that have directly benefited hundreds of thousands of indigent men, women and children.

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 internation         

 WHAT'S NEW
  • CHRCL urges Obama to grant lawful permanent residence to 2M immigrants without Congress's help

    April 14, 2014 - CHRCL sent a letter to President Obama in response to his request to the Department of Homeland Security on how to slow deportations. We do not believe asking for "Deferred Action Status" is enough. Our letter explains how aside from granting Deferred Action Status (temporary status) to the largest possible group of  immigrants, the President could also, with no change in federal laws, grant lawful permanent resident status possibly to as many as two million immigrants -- without requiring any action by Congress. The letter to Obama may be downloaded here.
We urge all advocates to review the Center's letter and to send similar or supportive letters to the President, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Attorney General, with copies to all other principle aides and principle lawyers listed here.
  • March 17, 2014 - Senator Loni Hancock today introduced new legislation to revise and reform solitary confinement conditions and procedures. (read more)
  • Now Available: February 2014 Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Update on Federal and California Legislation Impacting Low-Income Immigrant Communities.  Select this link to download a PDF version of this legislative update. 

  • 2014 Updated Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law Manual on Constitutional Law, Due Process and Equal Protection for Legal Services and Pro Bono AttorneysClick here to download free PDF version of the updated manual. 
  • Immigration Reform:  Analysis of Senate Bill Proposals for Legalization
Nine significant elements of the Senate Bill's Legalization Proposal that must be changed to have an effective program that does not potentially exclude millions of low-income immigrants living in the U.S.  Click here to download report.

Current Work and Areas of Expertise

The Center is a legal services support center with recognized expertise in complex litigation and the substantive law relating to immigrants and refugees. 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 constitutionality of state proposition denying health care, social services and education to suspected undocumented immigrants); 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.


Casa Kauai

photoThe 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.

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Solitary Confinement in CA Prisons

photoImmigrant Family and the Defense of Marriage Act

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Casa Libre: shelter for homeless unaccompanied immigrant children

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Voces Unidas: a bi-lingual nationwide resource database for abused women and children and their advocates

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The Legalization Site

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Unaccompanied Minors Project



Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Websites:
CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG - CASA-LIBRE.ORG - CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG/PRISONERS - CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG/DOMA-
VOCESUNIDAS.ORG - NATIONALIMMIGRATIONREFORM.ORG - IMMIGRANTCHILDREN.ORG