News & Updates

ASISTA Press Release: ASISTA Files FOIA Lawsuit Demanding Information about USCIS’s Use of Discretion in Green Card Applications for Crime Victims

By Ahlam Moussa | May 18, 2020 |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19 2020 Contact: Ahlam Moussa On Thursday, April 30, ASISTA and the Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California demanding that USCIS and DHS disclose information requested related to their exercise of discretion in adjudicating adjustment of status (green card) applications by crime victims…

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COVID-19 Practice Pointer: Initial Filings of U/T visa petitions and VAWA self-petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Current as of May 12, 2020)

By Maria Lazzarino | May 13, 2020 |

In this practice advisory, ASISTA provides practice tips on how to comply with deadlines and submit initial filings during the COVID-19 national emergency. Click here to download the practice pointer in Word version.  This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-TA-AX-K061 awarded by the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The…

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ACTION ALERT: Organizing Local Allies

By Maria Lazzarino | Apr 28, 2020 |

COVID-19 is exacerbating the already tremendous barriers survivors face in accessing safety and secure status. Although we are pushing Congress to change its policies to recognize COVID’s impact on survivors and their ability to file paper, get work authorization extensions, etc., we need your help educating your Members of Congress. What can you do?

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ASISTA Statement on April 22nd Executive Order

By Admin | Apr 23, 2020 |

Date: April 23, 2020 Media Contact: Ahlam Moussa, ASISTA, ASISTA denounces President Trump’s new executive order temporarily limiting entry for individuals outside the US seeking permanent residency, as it only serves to sow hatred and create division. It needlessly separates families, including certain family members of survivors.  The United States is in the middle…

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Impact of Latest Executive Order on Survivor-based Forms of Immigration Benefits

By Admin | Apr 23, 2020 | Comments Off on Impact of Latest Executive Order on Survivor-based Forms of Immigration Benefits

by: Cecelia Friedman Levin, ASISTA Policy Director with Grace Huang, Policy Director, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-based Violence Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting entry of certain individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on immigrant visas (as permanent residents) for 60 days. The order will be effective as of 11:59 pm ET…

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USCIS must do more to protect immigrant survivors

By Admin | Apr 8, 2020 |

On April 7, 2020, ASISTA supplemented its initial letter to USCIS regarding its recommendations in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. Immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other serious crimes already face myriad barriers accessing services and assistance, and these barriers have been exacerbated during this unprecedented emergency.…

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New ASISTA COVID-19 Practice Pointer (Current as of April 10, 2020)

By Maria Lazzarino | Apr 2, 2020 |

While we continue to advocate and await further guidance, we have prepared this Practice Pointer, Filing Deadlines for RFEs, NOIDs, NOIRs and I-290Bs, to assist you in meeting deadlines during this national emergency. We encourage you to also visit ASISTA’s COVID-19 Resource Page and that of our partners, CLINIC and CAST.

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ASISTA calls on USCIS to Ensure Survivors have Continued Access to Immigration Benefits.

By Maria Lazzarino | Mar 24, 2020 |

On behalf of ASISTA organizational and individual members nationwide, ASISTA expressed our concerns regarding the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on USCIS’ survivor-based benefits operations. ASISTA called on USCIS to adopt measures that address the additional limitations faced by immigrant survivors’ of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other serious crimes.  Read…

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Current Job Opportunity: Executive Director

By Maria Lazzarino | Mar 16, 2020 |

ASISTA ( is looking for a new Executive Director following the retirement of its co-founder and Executive Director, Gail Pendleton, in the fall of 2020.  ASISTA’s mission is to advance the dignity, rights, and liberty of immigrant survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The Executive Director will report to ASISTA’s 7-member Board of Directors. ASISTA…

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One Training, 2 locations – From RFE to Federal Court: Latest Strategies in Defending Survivors – May 14, 2020 in Detroit, MI and June 16, 2020 in San Diego, CA

By Ahlam Moussa | Mar 6, 2020 |

May 14th, 2020 in Detroit, MI (before the FBA conference)  REGISTER NOW for Detroit! & June 16th, 2020 in San Diego, CA (before the AILA conference)  REGISTER NOW for San Diego! __________________________________________________________________________ Join ASISTA for a one-day training where we will discuss administrative, judicial, and collaborative strategies for protecting immigrant survivors of violence in light of the current…

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ASISTA Practice Pointer: What If You Do Not Received an RFE or Denial Notice? (March 2020)

By Maria Lazzarino | Mar 5, 2020 |

In this practice pointer, ASISTA addresses what to do if your case was denied as abandoned because you did not respond to an RFE that was never received. In the Appendix, we include a sample keystroke FOIA request and redacted keystroke FOIA response.  Click here to download the document in Word version. 

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Hernandez v. Mesa Ruling

By Ahlam Moussa | Feb 28, 2020 |

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Hernandez v. Mesa this week is inhumane and unjust. The decision insulates a border guard who shot and killed a child on Mexican soil. With numerous other groups advancing the rights of survivors, ASISTA filed an amicus brief highlighting the problem of sexual assaults committed by federal officers and…

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Updated Advisory: Blank Spaces on Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status

By Admin | Feb 27, 2020 | Comments Off on Updated Advisory: Blank Spaces on Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status

ASISTA has updated its practice advisory regarding U visa application rejections due to blank spaces on the Form I-918 and I-918A. This updated advisory has filing practice pointers, as well as suggestions for re-filing rejected forms.  As this is an emerging issue, please keep ASISTA informed of any new trends not addressed in this advisory.…

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Safe Horizon and ASISTA File FOIA Request Seeking Immigration Policy Data Related to U-Visa Adjudications

By Maria Lazzarino | Feb 25, 2020 |

(New York, February 25, 2020) – Safe Horizon and ASISTA have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for immigration policy data on the adjudication of U-visa petitions and adjustment of status (permanent residence) applications for those granted U visa status.   U visas were created…

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USCIS’ New Policy on Application Forms Harms Survivors

By Admin | Feb 14, 2020 |

On February 6, 2020, ASISTA sent a letter to USCIS and to the CIS Ombudsman’s office regarding the December 30, 2019 announcement that USCIS may reject Form I-918 U visa forms if there is a blank field. This significant shift in policy and practice creates enormous hardship for survivors and their families, and strains valuable…

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ASISTA Press Release: ASISTA Files Lawsuit Challenging Harmful ICE Policies Which Put Victims of Crime at Higher Risk of Removal

By Ahlam Moussa | Feb 13, 2020 |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2020 Contact: Ahlam Moussa, Changes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy were announced August 2, 2019 that create significant additional barriers for victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of their crimes. ASISTA, represented by Protect Democracy and the Constitutional Accountability Center, filed suit today…

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ALERT: ASISTA submits Amicus on Erosion of Continuances and Admin Closure for Survivors of Violence

By Maria Lazzarino | Feb 12, 2020 |

Yesterday, ASISTA, along with our partners, submitted an amicus brief challenging EOIR’s erosion of docketing tools like continuances and administrative closures. This errosion results in limiting access to critical immigration relief for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other serious crimes.  ASISTA was joined in this brief by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV), National Immigrant Justice…

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ASISTA Practice Advisory: The Impact of Matter of N-L-Y-, 27 I&N Dec. 755 (BIA 2020)

By Maria Lazzarino | Feb 4, 2020 |

ASISTA has developed this Practice Advisory: The Impact of Matter of L-N-Y-, 27 I&N 755 (BIA 2020), which provides a detailed overview of provisions in this precedential decision, discusses its intersection with other BIA decisions on continuances, and provides best practices for requesting continuances for U visa applicants in removal proceedings. We’ve also summarized our key…

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Advocacy Update: New Survivor-Focused Amicus Brief Submitted in Fee Waiver Litigation

By Admin | Jan 25, 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update: New Survivor-Focused Amicus Brief Submitted in Fee Waiver Litigation

This week, ASISTA, along with our partners, submitted an amicus brief in the case Northwest Immigrant Rights Project v. U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This brief challenges USCIS’s sweeping changes to fee waiver policies which limit access to critical immigration relief for immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human…

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ASISTA Opposes Harmful Asylum Bars

By Admin | Jan 23, 2020 |

On January 21, 2020, ASISTA submitted comments in response to a proposed rule issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security establishing several new bars to asylum, including creating barriers for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. Read ASISTA’s comment here.

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