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Frequently Asked Questions About CGRS's TA Program
Accessing Technical Assistance
How do I access technical assistance materials?

Technical assistance (TA) materials are shared through the TA Library, a curated resource library available on CGRS's site for advocates representing individuals in asylum, withholding of removal, or Convention Against Torture (CAT) cases.

CGRS's TA resources are available free of charge and on-demand at any time on our website. You do not need to email CGRS to access materials - you can either fill out a case intake to access the TA Library for a new case, or navigate to your My Account dashboard to access assistance for a previously submitted case.

For detailed instructions on accessing TA, please review our TA program instructions, which provides step-by-step guidance on accessing the TA Library and Expert Witness Database.

Can I include information for multiple clients in one request for assistance?

If you are representing more than one client as principal applicants on separate I-589s, please submit individual requests for each applicant. Maintaining separate records allows us to track each case as it progresses, accurately monitor decision trends, and provide the most relevant resources. For more information, review our TA program policies.

If I submitted a case prior to the TA Library transition, how do I access materials for that case?

If you are looking for materials for a case that already has a CGRS case number, please do not submit an additional case intake through our online portal. You can access updated assistance materials on-demand at any time in our TA Library. To access the TA Library for a previously-submitted case, click “View TA Library for this Case” on your My Account dashboard. More in-depth instructions for using the TA Library can be found here.

How can I request additional assistance for a case for which I already have a CGRS case number?

If you would like to request additional assistance beyond the resources provided in the TA Library, please email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu with your CGRS case number in the subject line, noting any urgent upcoming deadlines. Please note we are not able to accommodate all requests for further assistance; refer to the Technical Assistance Overview section of this FAQ for more information.

How can others working on a case access the TA Library for that case?

To share a CGRS case (and the tailored TA Library associated with it), navigate to your My Account dashboard and click on the case number of the case you would like to share. On the case record page, click on the "Share Case" tab and enter the email addresses of any others working on the case, e.g., law clinic students, pro bono mentors, or co-counsel. Do not share a case with anyone who is not working with the applicant.

In order to access a shared case, the recipient will need to have an existing CGRS account. If they do not have an account at the time of sharing, you will get an error message. Once they have created an account, you will be able to share the account with their email.

Once a case has been shared with another CGRS user, they will see the case under the Cases Shared With Me section on their My Account dashboard. From there, they can access the TA Library associated with that case. Shared users are not able to add outcomes for cases shared with them. To remove a shared user from a case, please email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu to request removal.

Is it possible to transfer CGRS cases to a different account?

If a case is being transferred to a different attorney than the one who submitted the original assistance request, please email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu with the CGRS case number in the subject line. We will need the email address connected to the CGRS account of the attorney to which the case is being transferred.

Can paralegals, accredited representatives, and law students access the TA Library?

Yes, non-attorneys who are working on an individual asylum case may access the TA Library. When registering, select "Attorney/advocate representing a client."

Technical Assistance Materials
How do the filters in the TA Library work?

The checkboxes in the left-hand sidebar of the TA Library enable users to filter and quickly find applicable resources. The filters are used to narrow the documents in your tailored resource library using “AND”, not “OR” logic. For example, if you would like to see country conditions research relating to your client’s country of origin AND  a certain type of persecution, select the checkboxes for the country of origin, type of persecution, and “Country Conditions” in the Type of Document category. Once you click “Apply Filters”, the library will display all relevant results.

If you apply several filters and no results are returned, try applying fewer filters or no filters at all. If you are still not finding what you are looking for, then we may not have materials matching your search available at current. Please report any issues you encounter with the TA Library filters by filling out this feedback form.

Please be advised, the “Country of Origin” filter will only return expert declarations and country conditions resources if selected. Other materials, such as practice advisories, sample briefs, unpublished decisions, or filings, cannot be filtered by country.

Note that the “Procedural Stage” filters currently display briefs, decisions, and other litigation support materials related to proceedings at the Asylum Office, immigration court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal courts. This filter is helpful to search for general guidance related to asylum cases in these procedural stages. However, additional resources may be applicable to your case. If you are applying procedural stage filters but there are limited or no results, please remove some filters and try your search again.

For more in-depth explanation of our filters, please review our TA Library instructions or review our Strategies for Maximizing CGRS Technical Assistance in Asylum Cases webinar, available in the TA Library.

I do not see country conditions for my client’s country of origin in the TA Library. Are there more on file?

Due to the wide variation of cases for which we provide assistance, we are not able to provide country conditions resources for every country or type of fear-of-return claim - in 2022 alone, we received cases from 128 countries.  Additionally, through our fact-finding projects and collaborations, our expertise is most focused on the Northern Central America region. While we endeavor to develop materials for other countries and types of claims, we are limited by staff capacity, constantly changing country conditions, and the complexity and variation between cases.

If resources related to your applicant’s specific country or claim are not included in the TA Library, we do not have additional materials on file at that time. Additionally, some of the materials may be outdated. We endeavor to update and add additional resources to the TA Library as we develop or receive them. Your tailored TA Library will automatically be updated with resources relevant to your case, so be sure to check the library for new materials. When we release new country conditions research, we announce it on our Program News page and in our TA user newsletters.

To help CGRS develop country conditions materials for more types of claims, support us by donating or submitting sample country conditions research from your cases.

Can I narrow the date range of country conditions or other materials?

No, the TA Library currently does not allow you to filter by date range. Resources are displayed in reverse chronological order by date of publication or most recent update. We endeavor to add this ability in the future.

Why are there sample briefs and decisions for countries other than my client’s country of origin in the tailored TA Library?

CGRS endeavors to provide sample redacted briefs and decisions on claims relevant to your client's case. We share materials in similar types of claims, even if they are for cases different than your client's country of origin because the legal arguments presented may still be applicable. 

Why are sample briefs and decisions from my client’s country of origin not showing up in the library when I select the country of origin filter?

The country of origin filter only displays country conditions reports and expert declarations relevant to your client’s country of origin. To view sample briefs and/or decisions, de-select the country of origin filter, and select the sample briefs and/or decisions checkboxes in the Type of Document filter category. These filters will show briefs and/or decisions from all countries.

How do I ensure I get the most relevant resources in the TA Library?

It is imperative to provide as much information as possible in the case intake form, as the tailored TA Library is generated from the information inputted for a particular case. If you forgot to check something off on the case intake form, please email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu with the CGRS case number and what you would like to change so that we can update your CGRS case record. Once the case record is updated, relevant resources will automatically appear in that case’s customized library. 

Can I submit CGRS materials in a filing for a case?

You are authorized to submit certain CGRS materials, such as universal declarations, only in cases for which you have requested technical assistance and have a CGRS case number. Do not submit country conditions toolkits or practice advisories, as they are provided as background information and guidance for practitioners and are not meant to be submitted as evidence or argument. 

Can I share CGRS materials with other attorneys or students working on a different case?

Please do not share materials with individuals working on different cases that have not been registered with CGRS. For funding and reporting purposes, CGRS does not permit the unauthorized distribution of our materials. To share resources with others working on the same case, add them as a shared user to the case by email address. For instructions on how to share cases, refer to the Accessing Technical Assistance Materials section of this page.

Can I access CGRS’s asylum case database for research purposes?

Unfortunately, we are not able to grant access to our database for research purposes. Please email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu regarding your research, and we will determine if we have relevant, non-confidential materials to support your research.

Individuals interesting in serving as expert witnesses can access CGRS's Expert Witness Resource Library,

How do I report technical issues or provide feedback on CGRS’s TA Library?

Please fill out this form to report issues and provide feedback, or email us at CGRS-TA@uclawsf.edu.

How can I get more up-to-date country conditions materials and universal expert declarations?

CGRS endeavors to provide current country conditions resources for common countries of origin and types of persecution, but given our capacity as small non-profit organization, we are not able to provide this information for all cases. We recieve cases from more than 120 countries of origin regarding 30 different persecution types. Additionally, the majority of our cases are from 4 countries in Northern Central America, so we expend the majority of our limited capacity updating those resources.

Our ability to share free materials is made possible by donations and other support from our users. Donations help sustain our program and allow us to expand our resources. Additionally, we appreciate submissions of sample resources from attorneys who have used the materials in their cases. If you want to support our TA program and help us grow to support more cases, please submit any resources here. We're grateful for your contributions!

Where do I find unpublished decisions referenced in CGRS materials?

CGRS shares unpublished decisions through the TA Library. To quickly check whether a decision is in the TA LIbrary, enter the CGRS case number in the search box in the filter sidebar of the TA Library.

If you can't find the decision, then it has not been uploaded to the TA Library for one of the following reasons:

  • The decision has not been fully redacted yet.
  • The decision is not relevant to the case for which you are viewing the TA Library. For example, an unpublished decision from a religious persecution case will not appear for TA cases not related to religious persecution.
  • We do not have permission from the original attorney to share the decision.
Case Outcomes
Why does CGRS track case outcomes?

Tracking of case outcomes is a critical component of CGRS’s technical assistance program. CGRS maintains a database of over 60,000 asylum cases and collects case information including the facts, arguments made, identity of the adjudicator, outcome, and the rationale for the decision. This enables us to assist other attorneys with similar claims by providing information on how particular adjudicators have ruled and what evidence was persuasive. The information is also critical to informing our research, resource development, impact litigation, training, and policy advocacy efforts. Additionally, attorneys who reported outcomes provided and gave permission to share many of the sample briefs and decisions disseminated through our TA program. 

How do I report an outcome in a case previously registered with CGRS?

To report an outcome in your asylum case, log into your CGRS account and go to the My Account page. On this page, you will see a list of all of your cases registered with CGRS. On the right side of each case, you will see a link to “Add an Outcome”. Click this link to add an outcome for that case. If your case has multiple outcomes, you can click on the link to “Add Another Outcome”.  

Can I search CGRS’s database for case outcomes?

No, CGRS no longer maintains a publicly accessible outcomes database due to capacity limitations. However, CGRS is planning to share aggregated, anonymized outcomes data again in the future. For confidentiality reasons, we do not grant access to the CGRS database. CGRS staff review and analyze case outcomes and share any relevant, non-confidential information to advocates through our trainings and practice advisories.

Why are decision documents important to CGRS's work?

By uploading a decision document, CGRS can review the decision and identify any patterns or trends in the outcomes of asylum cases. This can help CGRS improve our TA program by providing more targeted resources and support to clients based on the issues and challenges they face.

In addition, uploading a decision document can help CGRS to identify cases where there may have been errors or inconsistencies in the decision-making process, which can inform its advocacy efforts to improve the fairness and accuracy of the asylum system.

Should I still upload generalized orders or decisions that only contain an addendum of the law without generalized analysis?

No, CGRS is only interested in decision documents that contain individualized analysis. We understand that some judges issue only a generalized addendum of the law. There's no need to provide this to us.

Finding Expert Witnesses in CGRS's Expert Witness Database
Where can I find expert referrals?

Please visit our Expert Witness Database for referrals for country conditions and health experts. You must be signed into your CGRS account to access the database. Please note that CGRS provides expert contact information to enable attorneys to find potential experts, but appearing in our database does not imply endorsement of an expert. CGRS does not guarantee any expert’s work product. Database users must conduct their own research and vetting when deciding whether to engage an expert on their asylum case. While we vet all experts for basic minimum requirements prior to inclusion in our database, we are generally not in a position to vouch for individual experts. Attorneys must research and appropriately vet experts to ensure they are an appropriate fit for their case.

Does CGRS mediate disputes between experts and attorneys?

CGRS cannot mediate disputes between experts and attorneys. We provide referrals for reference only, and appearance in the CGRS Expert Witness Database does not indicate CGRS's endorsement of an expert, and we cannot guarantee any expert's work product.

Serving as an Expert in CGRS's Expert Witness Database
How can I express my interest in being listed in the Expert Witness Database?

If you are interested in being listed in the Expert Witness Database, please register for an expert account then create an expert profile to submit your information for consideration. We appreciate your interest!

What is the Expert Witness Resource Library? Who can access it?

The Expert Witness Resource Library is a curated library of resources to support work as an expert witness supporting asylum, withholding of removal, and claims under the Convention Against Torture. The library includes resources to support collaboration with a legal team, resources on the practice of serving as an expert witness,  sample declarations, and specific to country conditions and medical expert witnesses, and more.

The library can be accessed by anyone registered for an expert account with CGRS. Please note that the library is not intended for attorneys or individuals who do not intend to serve as an expert witness in immigration proceedings. If you are an attorney looking for resources on working with experts, go to the TA Library and select the "Working with Experts" filter in the Other Topics filter group.

If you are an expert interested in accessing the library, click here after logging into your account.