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Legal Projects

Center for New Americans Collaboration

The Center for New Americans Collaboration is a partnership with the University of Minnesota which supports impact litigation advancing protections on civil rights for immigrants. It grew out of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s Litigation Project and was established at the University in 2013, with generous support from the Robina Foundation. University faculty and students, pro bono counsel from local law firms, and ILCM and other legal nonprofit staff together contribute expertise to the project. It is the only collaboration of its kind in the country.

Today, the Center provides immigration services through four programs: the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic, which improves federal immigration law through impact litigation; the Detainee Rights Clinic, which protects the human rights of individuals detained by the Department of Homeland Security; the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, which represents asylum-seekers, and; an education and outreach program, which builds immigration legal knowledge in the immigrant and legal communities. Please read more about their programs on the CNA website.

ILCM has brought two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, first through our Litigation Project in 2009 and then through the Center for New Americans collaboration in 2015. The first case succeeded in obtaining asylum for a family fleeing gang violence in El Salvador, and improving the case law for thousands of other families seeking asylum, nationwide. The Star Tribune profiled the family and the case in an article that came out before the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court under ILCM’s representation.

Our second case decided at the U.S. Supreme Court was successful in 2015 and improves protections for lawful permanent residents across the country. The collaboration appealed and won Mellouli v. Lynch, 575 U.S. __ (2015), involving the overturning of the deportation order of Mr. Mellouli, a math professor and long-term lawful permanent resident (LPR). This victory reduces consequences for some LPRs convicted of minor offenses, and Mr. Mellouli will, after years of separation, return to the United States, his profession, and his family.