Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, collaborated with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR SF Bay) on a pro bono basis in publishing a 70-page report that exposes a covert government program called the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP). The report found that the CARRP makes it all but impossible for many law-abiding Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian individuals to become American citizens, or otherwise obtain legal residency or asylum in the United States. View the report.

“We appreciate the valuable assistance that Mayer Brown provided to ensure that this important report could be published,” said Jennie Pasquarella, staff attorney at ACLU SoCal and lead author of the report.

Each year, millions of aspiring Americans apply for United States citizenship and other immigration benefits with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The report found that under the CARRP program, USCIS secretly blacklisted law-abiding applicants, labeling them “national security concerns,” and cast their applications into a vacuum where they languish for years or are simply denied without justification. The agency often mislabels applicants as “national security concerns” based on nothing more than lawful religious activity, national origin, and innocuous associations. In doing so, the agency unjustly targets law-abiding Muslim residents who present no threat to national security.

The report recommends that CARRP be rescinded or substantially reformed to ensure that it comports with immigration law, as well as basic standards of fairness and non-discrimination, and that applicants should no longer be arbitrarily barred from receiving the benefits to which they are legally eligible.

“Our mission to preserve and protect civil rights is made manifest through the engagement of our partnering law firms; we are truly honored to count Mayer Brown amongst those firms,” said Paul R. Chavez, senior attorney at LCCR. “The Lawyers’ Committee extends our deepest thanks to Mayer Brown for their work in bringing this noxious policy to light.”

The Mayer Brown team was led by Litigation & Dispute Resolution associate Hamsa Murthy and included Assistant Director of Pro Bono Activities Marcia Tavares Maack (Washington DC).