Immigrant Rights

AALDEF believes in immigration policy that adheres to basic human rights principles. This belief resonates throughout our work in this program area. AALDEF is an active voice on immigration policy and immigrant rights issues on a national level and is also among the few groups that provide both direct legal representation and community education to Asian immigrants and their families.

Immigration Policy

Since 1974, AALDEF has represented Asian immigrant families and workers of all backgrounds. We believe that U.S. immigration laws must close the ever-widening gap in substantive and procedural rights between immigrant Americans and U.S.-born Americans, respect the rights of all workers, and maintain family reunification as a core value. In 2006, AALDEF was involved in efforts calling for the reform of national immigration policy, but legislative efforts ultimately failed. Today, we urge members of Congress to adhere to human rights principles in guiding the current debate on comprehensive immigration reform.

Read AALDEF’s blueprint for fair and humane immigration policies and our target revisions to the current Senate proposal.

Free DACA Legal Clinics

On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would grant “deferred action” status to young people who qualify as DREAM Act students. AALDEF is holding a series of legal clinics to provide free legal advice and representation to people who qualify under this directive.

Read our FAQs on DACA.

RAISE: AALDEF’s Undocumented Youth Group

AALDEF’s undocumented youth group RAISE (“Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast”) is the first Asian American undocumented youth group on the East Coast. RAISE works with AALDEF to create safe spaces for undocumented Asian American youth and to advocate for just and humane immigration policies.

Post 9-11 Civil Liberties**

Following September 11, AALDEF met an overwhelming need for legal assistance and information among immigrant communities targeted by each wave of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Security

Entry-Exit Registration Program (or “Special Registration”). In the decade since, AALDEF has challenged the government’s racial, ethnic and religious profiling of Muslims and other select groups of noncitizens in the name of national security. AALDEF has provided legal advice and representation to thousands of individuals affected by post 9-11 immigration policy and educated tens of thousands through major “Know Your Rights” campaigns. AALDEF also monitors and advocates against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policies that entail racial and religious profiling. Most recently, AALDEF has monitored and advaocated against NYPD surveillance of American Muslims.

In 2013, AALDEF, together with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR), released a groundbreaking new report: Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims. This was the first report documenting the devasting impacts of the New York Police Department’s extensive surveillance program that targeted American Muslims throughout the Northeast.

Read more about our recent cases and activities.