Impact Litigation

Our litigation department combines impact litigation with other strategies to expand legal protections for AANHPI and other marginalized communities and to advocate against laws and policies that are unjust or oppressive. We primarily focus on the areas of immigrant justice and voting rights.

We investigate and pursue and civil rights litigation that seeks to protect and empower immigrants, refugees, and people of color. This has included cases challenging immigration detention practices, expanding language access at the polls, and fighting other discriminatory elections practices.

Outside of the courtroom, we use tools like community education and policy advocacy to advance community-driven social and political movements.

Immigrant Justice Cases

Trinh v. Homan (immigration detention lawsuit)

• In 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested and detained Vietnamese immigrants with removal orders who came to United States before July 12, 1995.
Under an agreement between the United States and Vietnam, pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants cannot be deported to Vietnam, but ICE still detained them for many months at a time.
• In February 2018, Advancing Justice-Atlanta filed a class action lawsuit to challenge the detention of these pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants.
• This lawsuit is ongoing.

Voting Rights Cases

Kwon v. Crittenden (language access lawsuit)

• During November 6, 2018 general election, Advancing Justice-Atlanta trained volunteer interpreters who then assisted Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters at the polls.
• In the process, we discovered that voters and interpreters were facing issues with a Georgia state law that severely restricted who could interpret at the polls in state and local elections. To protect LEP voters in the state-only December 4, 2018 run-off election, Advancing Justice-Atlanta filed a lawsuit in late November 2018 to challenge the law.
• The lawsuit, within the matter of a few days, resulted in a settlement with the Georgia Secretary of State that ended the enforcement of the restrictive state law.
• In the December 4 election, LEP voters were permitted to bring any interpreter allowed under federal law to the polls to assist them in voting. The settlement in this case applies to all future elections in Georgia as well and will allow the hundreds of thousands of LEP Georgians more flexible access to an interpreter.

Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. Kemp (2016) and Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda v. Kemp (2018) (“exact match” lawsuits)

• In 2016, Advancing Justice-Atlanta and several other civil rights organizations sued the Georgia Secretary of State over Georgia’s voter registration verification process, which automatically rejected a voter registration application if the name on the application did not exactly match the applicant’s name as it appeared in other state databases, and the applicant failed to correct the mismatch within 40 days. This process led to thousands of eligible voters being denied the right to vote, many of whom were voters of color. The lawsuit led to a settlement that allowed thousands of previously disqualified voters to vote in the 2016 presidential election, and reformed the voter registration verification process.
• In 2017, however, former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 268, which wrote into law the very same matching process used by the Georgia Secretary of State that was the subject of the 2016 lawsuit and settlement. Instead of 40 days to correct the mismatch, the law gave applicants 26 months before their voter registration would be canceled. But the law still puts thousands of eligible voters at risk of disenfranchisement.
• In October 2018, Advancing Justice-Atlanta and other civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit to challenge the new “exact match” law, which led to increased protections to voters for the November 6, 2018 general election and the December 4, 2018 run-off election in Georgia.
• This lawsuit is ongoing.

Georgia Muslim Voter Project v. Kemp (absentee ballot lawsuit)

• In October 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of Georgia) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Advancing Justice-Atlanta, to protect Georgia voters who had their absentee ballots or absentee ballot applications rejected due to an alleged “signature mismatch.”
• Under Georgia law, county elections officials are required to reject absentee ballots with signatures that do not appear to match the signature the county has on file. The voter is not provided notice before their ballot is rejected, or an opportunity to fix the problem.
• The lawsuit resulted in a court order for the November 6, 2018 general election, that prevented election officials from rejecting absentee ballots based on the signature issue without first giving voters a chance to cure the mismatch.
• This lawsuit is ongoing.

Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. State of Georgia (federal runoff lawsuit)

• In 2017, Advancing Justice-Atlanta joined several other civil rights organizations to challenge a Georgia statutory scheme that requires Georgians to register to vote three months in advance of a federal runoff election in order to cast a ballot, in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.
• As a result of this ongoing litigation, a federal judge extended the voter registration deadline for the June 2017 runoff election between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, enabling 8,000 additional voters to participate in this historic election.