United States: Stroock Partners With New York Lawyers For Public Interest To Develop Critical Guide For Nonprofits On Immigration Enforcement
Last Updated: August 4 2017

Short handbook provides advocacy groups with key advice and templates for helping immigrant constituents navigate enforcement landscape

New York, NY, July 20, 2017 -- Marked increases in immigration arrests, especially in and around courts, schools, places of worship, and healthcare facilities, have generated fear and uncertainty among immigrant communities—and left many nonprofit service providers questioning how to continue effectively assisting their immigrant clients.

To answer key questions, Stroock's Public Service Project partnered with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to develop a guide helping nonprofits and service providers navigate complex legal questions and specific scenarios related to immigration enforcement.

One of the first comprehensive guides on this topic, NYLPI's Guidance to Nonprofits Regarding Immigration Enforcement establishes best practices and outlines the rights of nonprofits to comply with the law while protecting their immigrant clients. Of particular interest were circumstances around possible Immigration and Customs Enforcement visits to facilities. NYPLI reports that many of its own clients have expressed fear of going to court or receiving life-saving medical care because of the perceived dangers of immigration enforcement.

"Given all that is going on in the world today, immigrant rights have taken on a larger role in Stroock's pro bono initiatives," said firm Co-Managing Partner Jeff Keitelman. "Through our Public Service Project, we have represented hundreds of immigrants and their families, as well as counseled nonprofits that serve them, as part of our commitment to the underserved and vulnerable. It was a natural fit for Stroock to take a lead role to support this important initiative."

Among the materials in NYLPI's Guidance to Nonprofits Regarding Immigration Enforcement:

  • A checklist of key information for employees to collect following an ICE enforcement action
  • Sample judicial warrants—which are necessary for either ICE agents or police officers to enter homes and other non-public places—and ICE warrants—which are not legally sufficient to allow agents into homes or non-public areas of buildings.
  • Template of procedures and protocols for nonprofits to follow when interacting with immigration agencies
  • Instances when ICE agents may not require access to information without a judicial warrant—when it's on a personal phone or email account—versus when they can—information saved on a publically accessible computer, such as one in a library
  • Subpoena guidelines, including when federal law protects personal information from subpoenas until certain steps have been taken to notify the individual or obtain their authorization—such as with individually identifiable health information under HIPAA and students' education records under FERPA
  • Counsel about uniforms: ICE agents sometimes wear uniforms marked "Police," and staff may ask whether those seeking entry are ICE agents or police officers
  • Guidance for legal services providers about safeguarding privileged documents, which should not be produced under subpoena. All documents protected by attorney-client privilege instead would be catalogued by counsel for a nonprofit in "privilege log."
  • Information about ICE conduct around "sensitive locations," which include schools, hospitals, and places of worship. Based on ICE policies, enforcement actions there are discouraged and supervisory review generally required if actions are undertaken

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