Patel, Sunita

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Staff Attorney


Sunita Patel is currently a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she litigates racial profiling, immigrant justice, and other human rights issues. She is counsel for Floyd v. City of New York, a federal civil rights class action lawsuit that successfully proved, during a nine-week federal trial, the New York Police Department engages in unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. Sunita is also counsel for Turkmen v. Ashcroft, the class action suit on behalf of Arab and Muslim men rounded up in immigration sweeps after 9/11. Sunita has been engaged in cutting edge immigrant rights litigation and advocacy for since 1997. She was counsel for NDLON v. ICE, a FOIA lawsuit seeking records related to the illusive “Secure Communities” program of the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency. She successfully argued Cardenas-Abreu v. Holder before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a petition for review challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals' precedent opinion holding that a New York late-filed, yet pending, direct criminal appeal provides sufficient basis for a removal order. Prior to her position at CCR, Sunita held a Soros Justice Fellowship at The Legal Aid Society, Immigration Law Unit in New York where she represented immigrant detainees in removal proceedings and worked with criminal justice and human rights groups to create independent community oversight for detention operations through public accountability boards. Sunita is a former law clerk for the Honorable Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle in the Eastern District of Louisiana. She published an article in 2006 entitled "Performative Aspects of Race: 'Arab, Muslim, and South Asian' Racial Formation After September 11" in the UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal. Prior to law school, Sunita investigated conditions of confinement in Alabama and Georgia juvenile detention centers, prisons, and jails as a paralegal at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Sunita is a member of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Detention Watch Network. She has appeared on MSNBC, Democracy Now!, CNN on behalf of CCR.


Twitter: SunitaPatel_ccr