Vasudha Talla is an experienced advocate who represents individuals and organizations before federal and state courts in New York and California, as well as various state and federal agencies. She has litigated high-stakes litigation at the trial, appellate, and Supreme Court levels challenging the Muslim Ban and the unlawful construction of the border wall, as well as other federal policies and practices targeting immigrants and refugees; illegal prison and jail conditions; excessive force, mass surveillance, and other unlawful practices by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; violations of the First Amendment; access to counsel; and housing and disability discrimination. She has successfully obtained both damages and injunctive relief that has secured systemic reforms.
From 2017 to 2022, Ms. Talla served as senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, and as director of its immigrants’ rights team. There, she led a team of attorneys and investigators engaged in high-impact integrated advocacy to advance and protect the rights of immigrants at the federal, state, and local levels. She filed impact litigation, oversaw and published reports revealing ICE’s use of mass surveillance and collusion with sheriffs in California’s Central Valley to arrest immigrants, and lobbied for favorable legislation and policies. Her cases and campaigns have been featured in national media outlets, including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Intercept.
Prior to the ACLU, Ms. Talla worked at the International Refugee Assistance Project in Beirut and New York, as well as the Civilian Complaint Review Board in New York, where she published reports advancing key recommendations to expand humanitarian protections and to reform police practices, respectively.
Ms. Talla was an associate at the firm from 2011 to 2014, where she litigated a wide variety of civil rights and commercial cases in federal and state courts. Prior to joining the firm in 2011, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Keith P. Ellison in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and as an Arthur P. Liman Fellow with Sanctuary for Families in New York. She is a graduate of New York University and Yale Law School.
Briefed and argued successful Ninth Circuit appeal holding that FBI’s investigation and documentation of journalists’ First Amendment activity violates federal Privacy Act. Garris v. FBI, 937 F.3d 1284 (9th Cir. 2019).
Lead counsel in injunctive lawsuit successfully challenging ICE’s unlawful use of private contractors to make civil immigration arrests. Under settlement, ICE changed its arrest practices and procedures in California, required new training, and was subject to monitoring of its arrest practices. Solano v. ICE, Case NO. 2:21-cv-01576-AB-KS (C.D. Cal.).
Lead counsel in lawsuit challenging Marin County Sheriff’s practice of sharing personal information collected through mass surveillance technology with out-of-state and federal agencies in violation of California statutes. Under settlement, the Marin County Sheriff conceded that state law prohibits the widespread sharing of personal information and changed its policies. Lagleva v. Doyle, Case No. CIV 2103424 (Marin Sup. Ct.).
Lead counsel in Federal Tort Claims Act suit on behalf of U.S. citizen falsely arrested and detained by ICE for over 30 days. Bukle v. United States, Case No. 5:21-cv-01973-TJH-KS (C.D. Cal.).
Won preliminary injunction and class certification in lawsuit seeking bond hearings for immigrants subject to prolonged immigration detention, resulting in hundreds of class members receiving hearings and release from detention, and defended injunction at Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court. Aleman Gonzalez v. Garland, 3:18-cv-01869-JSC (N.D. Cal.).
Counsel in injunctive lawsuit challenging Sacramento County Sheriff’s unlawful collaboration with ICE in violation of California Values Act and other state laws. Echeveste v. Jones, Case No. 34-2021-80003768 (Sac. Sup. Ct.).
Lead counsel in tort lawsuit that successfully challenged abuse by ICE private contractor and associated FOIA lawsuit against ICE seeking records of detainee treatment. Liborio Ramos v. G4S, Case No. 3:19-cv-02757-LB (N.D. Cal.).
Counsel in various FOIA lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Services Administration that obtained records revealing government use of surveillance systems, automated license plate readers, and Clearview AI facial recognition to target and arrest immigrants. Read coverage in the Washington Post.
Won dismissal of a suit brought by outgoing Mayor Bloomberg and police unions against New York City Council, which allowed a groundbreaking law banning bias-based profiling by the NYPD to go into effect. Bloomberg v. N.Y. City Council, No. 653550/2013 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.).
Obtained a $3.5 million settlement for the twelve named plaintiffs in Nunez v. New York. This class action suit was brought by ECBAWM together with the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project on behalf of inmates at Rikers Island who were severely injured by correctional officers and to make systemic changes to halt the excessive violence plaguing the jail there. Nunez, et al. v. New York, et al., No. 11 Civ. 5845 (S.D.N.Y.). Read coverage in The New York Times.
Examined witness on behalf of a bank and real estate development company in a four-week trial involving a commercial lease dispute in federal court against Home Depot. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. G&S Investors/Willow Park L.P. et al., No. 98 Civ. 6719 & 00 Civ. 0676 (E.D.N.Y.).
Obtained an injunctive and monetary settlement in a case alleging race discrimination at a 100-unit rental apartment building in Sunnyside, Queens. The settlement the adoption of non-discriminatory rental policies, advertising available apartments, and attending fair housing training. Fair Housing Justice Center v. NASA Real Estate Corp., No. 12 Civ. 5994 (E.D.N.Y.).
Vasudha Talla, “ACLU Calls on Tech Companies To End Their Alliance with ICE and CBP,” Sept. 9, 2020, ACLU National blog, https://bit.ly/3MIIZpK.
Vasudha Talla and Matt Cagle, “Records Reveal ICE Agents Run Thousands of License Plate Queries a Month in Massive Location Database,” June 5, 2019, ACLU NorCal blog, https://bit.ly/3koXinv.
Vasudha Talla, “Documents Reveal ICE Using Driver Location Data from Local Police for Deportations,” March 13, 2019, ACLU NorCal blog, https://bit.ly/3Kwdaiy.
ACLU of Northern California and National Immigration Law Center, How California Driver’s License Records Are Shared with the Department of Homeland Security, Dec. 2018, https://bit.ly/3y8Uxyz.
Vasudha Talla, “Protecting Immigrant Privacy with SB 54, the California Values Act,” Aug. 21, 2018, ACLU NorCal blog, https://bit.ly/3KuYOiw.
International Refugee Assistance Project & Human Rights First, “Private Sponsorship of Refugee Resettlement in the United States: Guiding Principles and Recommendations,” Oct. 2016, https://bit.ly/39h1mDN.
New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, “Crossing the Threshold: An Evaluation of Civilian Complaints of Improper Entries and Searches by the NYPD from January 2010 to October 2015,” Mar. 2016, https://on.nyc.gov/3LBLGJQ.
Archana Pyati & Vasudha Talla, Chapter 108r: Detention of Noncitizens, in Gordon, Mailman & Yale-Loehr, 8 Immigration Law and Procedure (2011).
- 16 Years After First ECBAWM Class Action, Mayor and City Council Agree to Close Rikers Island
- ECBAWM Reaches Over $12 Million Settlement on Behalf of Family of Children Killed in Fire
- ECBAWM Defeats Challenge to City Law Banning Race-Based Stop-and-Frisks
- ECBAWM’s Defense of City Council Racial Profiling Law
- ECBAWM Represents New York City Council in Stop & Frisk Civil Remedy and Affordable Housing Disclosure Cases
Yale Law School, J.D., 2009
New York University, B.A., 2004