Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Inc.

Advancing the Rights of Immigrants

aka National Immigration Project, NIPNLG

Boston, MA


The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG promotes justice and equality of treatment in all areas of immigration law, the criminal justice system, and policies related to immigration. For nearly 50 years, the National Immigration Project has served as a progressive source of advocacy-oriented legal support on issues critical to immigrant rights.

Notes from the Nonprofit

At the heart of NIPNLG's work is the fundamental dignity of immigrants and marginalized people. Immigration law is highly technical, dense, and often opaque, second only to U.S. tax law in complexity. NIPNLG uses its legal knowledge in support of immigrant communities, using cutting-edge legal arguments, backing for grassroots campaigns, advocacy, litigation, and assistance to immigration law practitioners around the country. NIPNLG believes that all people deserve fairness and equality under the law, including those who have come into contact with the criminal or juvenile justice system, which disproportionately impacts people of color. We envision a world in which all people are lawfully protected, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexuality, nationality, or immigration status. We invite you to join us in this struggle, as we fight for immigrant rights today, tomorrow, and onward.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Mr. Dan Kesselbrenner

Co Principal Officer

Ms. Paromita Shah

Main Address

89 South St. Suite 603

Boston, MA 02111 USA


Immigrant Rights, Immigration, Human Rights, Civil Rights, Noncitizens





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The Trump presidency has ushered in a new era of anti-immigrant animus in the U.S., propelled by fear, racism, xenophobia, hatred, and mistruths. Announcements of “mega” actions against immigrants; attacks upon Sanctuary Cities, Muslims, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program; efforts to bloat federal funding for even larger, more militarized immigration enforcement agenda - these realities signal that the era of hyper-criminalization of immigrants is upon us. The threat to the fabric of U.S. social life, in which immigrants and their U.S.-born children comprise 27% of the population, is greater than at any other period in the past 30 years. In the face of vast government resources, the current reality is one of overreaching enforcement tactics that violate basic civil rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG works to ensure that all immigrant are treated fairly and lawfully under U.S. immigration law and the U.S. Constitution.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Countering Harsh Enforcement Practices and Keeping Families Together

Criminal and Deportation Defense

Protecting Victims of Crimes Including Intimate Partner Violence and Workplace Crimes

Defending Political Rights

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

NIPNLG stands at the forefront of the fight to defend the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants in the U.S. We seek to promote justice and equality of treatment in all areas of immigration law, the criminal justice system, and in public policies related to immigration. For 48 years, NIPNLG has served as a progressive source of advocacy-oriented legal support on issues critical to immigrant rights, including noncitizen victims of government abuse and misconduct, immigrants entangled within the criminal justice system, and immigrants facing summary removal, which deprives them of both the right to appear before a judge and the right to apply for status in the U.S. NIPNLG develops cutting-edge legal strategies to respond to government overreach, and efforts to erode immigrant rights. NIPNLG defends immigrant rights, so that all people in the U.S., regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigrant status, are lawfully protected.

NIPNLG works both independently and collaboratively with immigrant advocacy organizations nationwide. Throughout its history, our goals have remained consistent: to combat discrimination and bias against noncitizens; to promote governmental accountability; to expand the rights of noncitizens; to increase the capacity of immigrant organizations to defend their rights; and to promote fairness, dignity, and equality for all, under the law. Our multi-pronged approach includes litigation, training of immigration law practitioners (and providing them with expert technical assistance), strategic advocacy, and legal support to immigrant organizations in directly impacted communities on the ground. By working on multiple fronts, from the courtrooms to the grassroots communities on the ground, NIPNLG has earned a reputation as a highly principled ally, an honest broker that keeps immigrants at the center; while leveraging its prodigious legal savvy to push forward a pro-immigrant agenda.

NIPNLG has been at the forefront of the national effort to educate and train criminal defense lawyers about the intersection of criminal and immigration law, or “crim-imm,” in order to best serve their noncitizen clients. A pioneer of crim-imm, NIPNLG has trained over 5,000 immigration and criminal defense attorneys on deportation defense, raids responses, and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions since 2011. We have provided over 6,000 instances of technical assistance on immigration enforcement and detention in this same period. By assisting legal counsel, our effect is multiplied, since each legal representative counsels multiple clients. In this way, NIPNLG acts as a force multiplier – a small organization with a high level of technical immigration law expertise that packs a legal punch. Our staff includes 6 top-notch legal experts; our board is comprised of the country's leading immigration law practitioners; and we have thousands of member volunteers nationwide.

NIPNLG’s track record of successful impact litigation, providing expert legal counsel, supporting grassroots movement-building, and as an architect of forward-thinking law and policy makes this small non-profit a leader in the national landscape of immigrant rights. Indicators of success include: - Increased capacity of grassroots-led groups and campaigns to respond effectively to Trump tactics and to demand accountability from its immigration enforcement agencies; - Improved judicial interpretation of crim-imm grounds of removal affecting up to 5,000 noncitizens annually; - Increased coordination among community-based organizations, activists, and social movement lawyers to respond to Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda; - Increased quality and capacity of removal defense affecting up to 5,000 immigrants annually; - A reduction in unlawful immigration enforcement practices by the Dept. of Homeland Security; - Engaging in lawsuits to challenge unlawful immigration enforcement practices.

In the 1990s, NIPNLG led the fight in American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, which resulted in a victory for 500,000 Guatemalan and Salvadoran asylum seekers, challenging systemic ideological bias in asylum adjudications. In this same era, it also co-founded the National Network on Behalf of Battered Immigrant women; and helped write the immigration laws in the very first Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and its progeny. In the 2000s, NIPNLG won major legal victories for battered immigrant women and immigrant survivors of abuse, impacting tens if not hundreds of thousands of immigrant women. NIPNLG also contributed to the 2010 lifting of the U.S. ban on HIV+ individuals traveling of immigrating to the U.S. – another victory with countless beneficiaries. In Padilla v. Kentucky in 2010, NIPNLG contributed to the victory of an immigrant’s right to ‘effective assistance of counsel’ – all attorneys must, under the law, properly advise noncitizen clients of the immigration consequences.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

National Legal Aid and Public Defender Association - Member 2000

Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization (i.e. Girl Scouts of the USA, American Red Cross, etc.) - Affiliate/chapter 1980

American Bar Association 2000

The National Lawyers Guild "Law for the People" (Law4thePeople) Award 2018



National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Sexual Orientation

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Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity