News ≫ Meet Ahilan Arulanantham – Director of Advocacy/ Legal Director at ACLU

Meet Ahilan Arulanantham – Director of Advocacy/ Legal Director at ACLU

Feb 3, 2017
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Sri Lankan American Ahilan Arulanantham is the Director of advocacy/legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. Previously, he was deputy legal director at the ACLU SoCal and senior staff attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

During his tenure at ACLU SoCal, he has successfully litigated several landmark cases, including Nadarajah v. Gonzales, the first Ninth Circuit case establishing limits on the government’s power to detain immigrants as national security threats; Rodriguez v. Robbins, which required the government to provide bond hearings to thousands of immigration detainees; and Franco v. Holder, the first case to establish a right to appointed legal representation for any group of immigrants facing deportation, which required the federal government to provide legal representation to mentally ill immigrants.

In 2016 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2007, Ahilan was named one of California Lawyer Magazine’s Lawyer of the Year for his work with immigrants’ rights and national security. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013 he was named one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in California. In 2010, he received the Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award by the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association. Ahilan is a former law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, a graduate of Yale Law School, and a graduate of Oxford University.

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