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About » CGRS-California

CGRS-California advances the fundamental rights of individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries by improving the quality of legal representation available to them and the policies and laws that apply to their protection here in California.

CGRS-California enhances the capacity of attorneys to litigate successfully individual asylum cases, while advocating for institutional changes to benefit asylum seekers more broadly. We merge innovative technology and law to devise new and creative approaches aimed at empowering asylum advocates. With a staff of experienced and renowned educators and litigators in the field of asylum law, we provide unparalleled technical assistance (TA) and training services to practitioners; litigate select cases with the potential for maximum impact; and advocate for policy changes to safeguard the human rights of asylum seekers.

CGRS-California serves as the California-focused arm of the national Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, based at the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). Launched in November 2014, CGRS-California is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the sole focus of protecting the rights of refugees living in California. We work closely and continue to be affiliated with CGRS, bringing into focus the same vision for a world where the rights of refugees are respected, and people seeking safety in the United States are treated with dignity and fairness.

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Man holding protest sign that says Restore Asylum.
Technical Assistance

We improve the quality of legal representation available to asylum seekers by providing free expert consultation and written resources to advocates, ensuring the best possible outcomes for their clients.

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We offer in-person trainings and webinars to advocates across California, covering topics ranging from basic asylum eligibility screenings to more advanced legal issues and practical skills.

Migrants standing in line.
Impact Litigation

We undertake strategic impact litigation to advance substantive asylum law, defend due process rights, and challenge policies that undermine access to the asylum system itself.

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Policy and Advocacy

We mobilize support for laws and public policies that uphold the rights of people seeking asylum, serving as a critical resource to policymakers and the public.