Summer 2020: CGRS Newsletter

CGRS Stands with Black Communities and Movement Leaders

CGRS stands in solidarity with Black communities and allies rising up to seek justice for victims of anti-Black police violence. We recognize that our advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers is fundamentally and inextricably connected to the broader struggle for racial justice and join the urgent demands of Black movement leaders. We encourage everyone to join local efforts to defend Black lives and to support Black-led organizations serving asylum seekers and other immigrants of African descent. LEARN MORE

CGRS Brings Legal Challenges Against Unlawful Border Expulsions

For the past three months, the Trump Administration has weaponized the COVID-19 pandemic to escalate its attacks on asylum seekers and other immigrants, introducing increasingly exclusionary policies. In March the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an unprecedented order that has empowered officials to indiscriminately “expel” people seeking asylum at our southern border, turning them away and denying them their right to seek asylum under the pretext of public health concerns. Earlier this month, CGRS brought the first legal challenges against this cruel and dangerous policy. LEARN MORE

Major Court Victories for Refugee Survivors of Domestic Violence

Refugee survivors of domestic violence were among the first targets in the Trump Administration’s sustained assault on our asylum system. In June 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a sweeping decision known as Matter of A-B- in an attempt to eliminate asylum protections for those fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality. After nearly two years of strategic litigation to challenge the ruling, this spring we saw a pair of promising victories in the federal courts of appeals. LEARN MORE

Welcoming Director of Litigation Jamie Crook

We are thrilled to welcome Jamie Crook to the CGRS team as our new Director of Litigation! Jamie leads CGRS’s affirmative litigation, direct representation work, and appellate practice before federal courts and immigration agencies. She has an extensive background in complex civil rights litigation with a focus on immigrants’ rights and fair housing and prior to joining CGRS was a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. LEARN MORE ABOUT JAMIE’S WORK

Farewell to Isaac Bloch

This month we say farewell to our colleague Isaac Bloch, who is heading to Washington, D.C. to begin his first year at Georgetown Law. Isaac is a fierce advocate for refugee rights who has made invaluable contributions during his two years as a Legal Program Associate at CGRS. While we are excited for Isaac to begin this new chapter, we will miss him very much!

In his time at CGRS, Isaac has provided vital support in thousands of asylum cases, responding to countless individual requests for technical assistance and spearheading CGRS’s country conditions research program. In his capacity as a paralegal, Isaac has worked tirelessly on behalf of our refugee clients in several strategic litigation cases. Isaac has also played a critical role in our international fact-finding efforts. In recent trips to Tijuana and Tapachula, Mexico, Isaac worked closely with local advocates to document the conditions facing Central American, Haitian, and African migrants trapped in Mexico under draconian U.S. border policies.

When not defending the rights of asylum seekers, Isaac is deeply engaged in local electoral politics and has perfected the art of juggling, a skill we feel confident will serve him well in law school and beyond. It has been a privilege have him on our team, and we cannot wait to see what he does next!

New Resources from CGRS

CGRS is excited to announce the release of several new resources to support advocates serving asylum seekers, available now through our technical assistance program, including:

  • A new practice advisory designed to assist attorneys representing asylum seekers impacted by the Third Country Transit Bar, a regulatory bar to asylum for individuals who pass through a third country before seeking refuge at the U.S.-Mexico border without having applied for protection in at least one transit country;
  • Robust country conditions documentation on harms to migrants in Mexico and Guatemala, pertinent to non-Mexican and non-Guatemalan asylum seekers who may be subject to U.S. policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and the Transit Bar;
  • Country conditions documentation to support Guatemalan asylum seekers fleeing persecution on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  • Model materials to support asylum seekers impacted by the pandemic, including a redacted motion to continue based on trauma and COVID-19.

If you would like to access these resources to support a client’s asylum case, simply submit a technical assistance request using our online portal. If you have already submitted a request for your case and would like to request these new materials, please email us with your case number at