AILA Presents Elanie Cintron with the 2016 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Elanie Cintron, of Denver, CO, with the 2016 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for her outstanding contributions made as a young lawyer in the field of immigration and nationality law. She will receive the award this week during AILA's Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Elanie Cintron was barred in January 2014, and has made the most of her first two years in practice. Ms. Cintron believes that her work as an immigration attorney contributes to a movement that works towards ensuring basic human rights, preserving dignity, and guaranteeing equal protections under the law.

Ms. Cintron was elected Secretary of the Colorado Chapter of AILA for the 2016 term and in the coming year will be a member of the AILA National Asylum and Refugee Committee. She is currently Chair of the AILA Colorado Chapter's New Members Division, serves as a member of the AILA National LGBT Immigration Issues Working Group and the Family Detention Task Force. She previously served on the Colorado Gender Identity Center Community Outreach Committee.

After graduating from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Ms. Cintron worked in Boston as a union organizer for immigrant and refugee workers in the hospitality industry. She later joined the HR department for a company in North Carolina to get a glimpse of "the other side," and worked to implement union policies in a "right to work" state while spearheading collaboration between the company and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to increase hiring of refugee workers. Determined to help on a larger scale, she settled on law school and graduated in 2013 from The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. As a recipient of the school's LGBT Fellowship, she interned at Immigration Equality and simultaneously explored the two passions which ground her work - immigration law and advocacy for LGBT issues - under the umbrella of equality.

Ms. Cintron's work in family detention settings has been personally and professionally transformative. In Artesia, NM, she had the privilege of representing a survivor of domestic violence who was deemed a risk to national security and endured months of trauma in detention while her son's health declined. After she won her case, this client spoke out publicly to raise awareness of the debilitating impact of family detention; she and her son are now both permanent residents. Ms. Cintron is proud to count herself among the volunteers on the ground that helped bring the deportation mill in Artesia to a halt.

Since Artesia, Ms. Cintron has continued work on family detention cases, including entering her appearance on appeal for a woman and her daughter who were victims of ineffective assistance of counsel and were detained for over six months before being released. After the BIA remanded her case, she was granted withholding of removal and finally found safety in New York.

Ms. Cintron also continues to advocate for LGBT immigrants and has assisted in shedding light on discriminatory practices, including additional medical testing for HIV-positive clients during consular processing. She is currently representing victims of Operation Border Guardian, battling the negativity and lack of due process in the Atlanta court. Her greatest goal is to inspire the next generation of the movement to believe that we can indeed change the world through empowerment, education, and hope.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 16062036.