Lucas Guttentag is the national director of the Immigrants' Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Mr. Guttentag founded the Immigrants' Rights Project (IRP) in New York in 1987 and established the California office in 1996. Under his direction, the IRP's staff conducts a program of national impact litigation, advocacy and public education to enforce and expand the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants.
Mr. Guttentag has litigated major immigrants' rights cases, including regional and national class actions, for almost twenty years. He has argued many cases in federal courts of appeals throughout the country and has successfully argued in the United States Supreme Court, INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001), Calcano-Martinez v. INS, 533 U.S. 349 (2001), and in the California Supreme Court. Press v. Lucky Stores Inc., 34 Cal. 3d 311, 667 P.2d 704 (1983).
Among his other significant cases are a class action challenge to the indefinite detention of Haitian refugees at Guantanamo Naval Base, Haitian Centers Council v. McNary, 823 F.Supp. 1028 (E.D.N.Y. 1993); a nationwide class action settlement in American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F.Supp. 796 (N.D. Calif. 1991), affording 250,000 Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees new asylum adjudications; constitutional challenges to a federal statute penalizing citizens and immigrants who marry during deportation proceedings, Manwani v. U.S. Department of Justice, 736 F. Supp. 1367 (W.D.N.C. 1990), Azizi v. Thornburgh, 908 F.2d 1130 (2d Cir. 1990); and class action injunctions against improper asylum interviews and transfer of immigration detainees to remote prisons.
Mr. Guttentag has also testified before Congress, published numerous articles on immigrants' rights, and spoken and written on immigration law and civil liberties at conferences and conventions throughout the country. He has received many awards for his work, including appellate ""Lawyer of the Year"" from California Lawyer magazine in 2002, ""Human Rights Hero"" by the Human Rights journal of the American Bar Association in 2001, the outstanding litigation award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association on four occasions (1990, 1991, 1997, 2002), and honors from the National Lawyers Guild, the Central American Refugee Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Immigrant Legal Resources Center and others.
After law school, Mr. Guttentag clerked for U.S. district judge William Wayne Justice in Texas, was a staff attorney at the Center for Law in the Public Interest (CLIPI) in Los Angeles and taught on the clinical faculty at Columbia Law School.
Mr. Guttentag is a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law and Stanford Law School, where he teaches courses on the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley (1973) and his law degree from Harvard Law School (1978).