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Litigation and Advocacy

ImmDef's Executive Director, Lindsay Toczylowski, speaking about the tremendous danger Title-42 and other inhumane policies pose on people seeking ayslum.

Creating Systemic Change through Groundbreaking Litigation

ImmDef launched our Litigation and Advocacy Program in 2019 with the goal of creating systemic change to dismantle the systems that seek to deport our clients and separate our families.


Our project specifically focuses on issues related to access to counsel, detention conditions and ending immigration detention, violation of rights of unaccompanied minors, cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and systemic violations of due process rights.  


The Litigation & Advocacy team has developed a robust impact litigation and legal advocacy strategy on select cases in immigration and federal court, both at the initial and appellate level.


These advocacy efforts have grown following the 2016 presidential election as we expect federal government enforcement efforts to intensify. The time is now for California to show the rest of the nation who we are and what values we hold dear:

inclusivity, due process, and justice for all. 



Through our advocacy efforts we were able to partake in groundbreaking litigation such as the Innovation Law Lab V McAleenan case, a federal lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration’s policy forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered. Other cases where we have taken on the Trump administration are Rodriguez Castillo v. Nielsen in which we partnered with The ACLU regarding Victorville/Access to counsel. In this case asylum-seekers detained at Victorville FCI, in Victorville, CA, where, starting in Summer 2108, non-criminal immigrant detainees were being held by the hundreds without access to counsel.

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ImmDef, through counsel, sued for access and obtained a temporary restraining order requiring the government to allow access to counsel, and allow for ImmDef to provide Know Your Rights presentations and legal orientations to the immigrant detainees. ImmDef’s Director of Litigation and Advocacy was also instrumental in pushing the government to respect the religious rights of the hundreds of Sikh detainees who were held without adequate access to religiously appropriate head coverings, texts, or vegetarian meals. 

ImmDef participated in Torres v. McAleenan a lawsuit regarding Access to counsel for Adelanto Detention Center; Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project vs. Barr an in absentia removal order lawsuit filed in District Court, and the Southern District of New York Second Circuit in which the judge dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

Featured Cases

ImmDef Complaint to CRCL & OIG re CBP Abuse

April 6, 2022

Federal complaint detailing the abuse of immigrant children in CBP custody.

Garcia V. Wolf

April 15, 2020 

Habeas Petition for medically vulnerable person in ICE detention during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

ImmDef V. DHS

January 14, 2021

Suite against the Trump administration for violating the fundamental statutory and constitutional rights of our child clients.

Hernandez V. Wolf

March 26, 2020 

Application for Temporary Restraining Order for medically vulnerable person in ICE detention during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

ImmDef V. Mayorkas

October 28, 2020 

Suite against the Trump Administration to put an end to DHS' implementation of MPP.

Advocacy Tools 

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