Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) ensures human rights protections and access to justice for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.NIJC provides direct legal representation to thousands of immigrant women, men and children. This service informs NIJC’s critical work in the areas of policy reform, impact litigation, and public education.This unique approach enables NIJC to meaningfully and effectively seek broad-based systemic change.

Through strategic litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals, NIJC seeks to uphold constitutional protections, regardless of citizenship status. NIJC challenges laws, policies, and practices that violate constitutional and human rights standards related to the interpretation of the Refugee Act, judicial review, procedural fairness, impartiality, and overly broad interpretations of deportable offenses.

THE CASE: Through the Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation grant, NIJC will engage in strategic litigation to promote the positive development of refugee jurisprudence as it relates to “particular social groups” for purposes of asylum. In particular, NIJC will advocate for the courts to recognize gender as a “particular social group” that merits protection, consistent with international law standards.  NIJC will formulate and promote legal arguments that support this interpretation of the law and respond to “floodgates” concerns that have been employed by adjudicators to deny protection to victims of gender-based violence.  NIJC will collaborate with colleagues and pro bono attorneys to raise these cases in strategic venues.

Contact: Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center, 208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1818, Chicago, IL 60604