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Rebuilding our asylum system, fighting for safety and justice

Through coordinated litigation, advocacy, and training the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) is working to rebuild our asylum system and expand the United States’ promise of protection for those escaping persecution.

Our Mission

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies defends the human rights of courageous refugees seeking asylum in the United States. With strategic focus and unparalleled legal expertise, CGRS champions the most challenging cases, fights for due process, and promotes policies that deliver safety and justice for refugees.

Defending Asylum Seekers in the Courts

CGRS undertakes strategic litigation to advance sound asylum laws and protect due process rights. Our current docket includes federal lawsuits challenging anti-asylum border policies and high-impact appellate cases that present opportunities to restore paths to protection.

Technical Assistance Center

CGRS provides free expert consultation, litigation resources, and training to attorneys and advocates working with asylum seekers.

Access assistance
Access litigation resources - practice advisories, country conditions evidence, sample briefs, and more - to support your case.
Find an expert witness
Search our database of country specialists and health professionals who provide expert testimony in asylum cases. Experts can register for the database to connect with advocates representing asylum seekers.
Attend an upcoming training
Learn more about CGRS’s upcoming trainings and webinars.
Advocating for Just Policies

We advocate for the fair and dignified treatment of asylum seekers and promote policies that honor our country’s legal obligations to refugees. We call on the Biden administration to act swiftly to restore access to life-saving protection.

Encampment outside La Iglesia de la Soledad in Mexico City, Mexico from March 2024.
New Report on Dangers for Haitians in Mexico

CGRS and partners have published a new report on barriers to protection and dangers facing Haitian asylum seekers in Mexico, drawn from over 100 interviews with asylum seekers and service providers.

CGRS staff member Felipe Navarro and CGRS partners at IACtHR panel table.
CGRS Urges Inter-American Court to Address Climate Displacement

CGRS presented testimony before the Inter-American Court to inform its upcoming advisory opinion regarding States’ human rights obligations in the context of the climate emergency.

Save Asylum Now protest sign
Is Biden about to close the border in the name of election year politics?

In an op-ed for the LA Times, CGRS Director Karen Musalo calls on the Biden administration to abandon political games and instead fulfill its promise to restore a fair asylum process.

A child holding a backpack wading through a flooded street.
Climate Displacement Advocacy

CGRS is pursuing advocacy and litigation to confront the climate crisis. Our goal is to expand legal avenues to protection for climate or disaster-displaced people seeking refuge in the United States.

Protecting Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

CGRS is at the forefront of the movement to ensure protections for women and girls seeking safety, advocating for policies that recognize gender-based persecution as a basis for asylum.

Accountability for Open-Air Detention Conditions

CGRS lodged a federal complaint against DHS for violating its own custody standards for asylum seekers held in open-air detention sites at the border.

CGRS and #WelcomeWithDignity Recommend Solutions to Safeguard Asylum

Our immigration system requires real solutions that uphold the rights of people seeking safety and ensure meaningful access to a fair and humane asylum process. In this policy memo CGRS and our #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign partners recommend four practical solutions.

Support CGRS’s work

Your support for CGRS goes to work every day, protecting the human rights of women, children, and LGBTQ+ people seeking refuge in the United States.

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Be the first to know about case updates, policy developments, and action opportunities.