AILA's Featured Issues pages provide a one-stop shop on current immigration-related issues that AILA is actively tracking. This includes government actions and resources, AILA's policy recommendations, and materials and talking points to engage with Congress and the press.Start Your Research
AILA Doc. No. 17061409 | Dated June 15, 2017
Golden McCarthy, Arizona Chapter
The Arizona chapter selected Golden for her passion and dedication to immigrant youth and her unwavering support and mentoring of attorneys in our community. Golden is the program director for the children’s program at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona where she represents undocumented detained minors. Golden is also a founding member of PLAN - Phoenix Legal Action Network - which seeks to increase legal services to immigrants and community organizations.
Evelyn Smallwood, Carolinas Chapter
Evelyn Smallwood is an associate at Hatch Rockers Immigration in Durham, North Carolina, where she exclusively practices immigration law, including affirmative filings, deportation defense, and appeals. She became a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Immigration Law in November 2015, and is admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Evelyn currently serves as the AILA Carolinas’ Chapter Asylum Response Coordinator, and in that position, she has been working with the UNC Law School on an initiative to increase the capacity and quality of legal representation for Central American women and children seeking asylum in the Charlotte Immigration Court. She planned and helped moderate a full-day seminar on asylum on this subject in November 2016.
Among her proudest accomplishments, Evelyn traveled to Artesia, New Mexico, in October 2014 and Karnes City, Texas, in January 2015 to represent women and children who are being detained while seeking asylum in the United States. In recognition of her work in New Mexico and Texas, she was one of the recipients of the AILA 2015 Michael Maggio Pro Bono Award.
In addition to all of the above, Evelyn is being recognized as a Pro Bono Champion for her work on the case of a Durham high school student who was detained by ICE when he was leaving his home for school one morning. Evelyn represented this young man in reopening his removal proceedings and in seeking an urgent stay of removal, and was able to secure his release from the notorious Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.
Evelyn’s passion is defending immigrants’ rights and believes that as an immigration attorney, she has a special opportunity to protect people and unite families. She lives with her husband, Michael, also an attorney, and their baby, McCoy, in Durham.
Lara Wagner, Chicago Chapter
Lara Wagner is a young, solo practitioner who has dedicated her practice to providing legal services in an affordable and flexible fashion. She volunteers her time extensively with multiple organizations around Chicago and is an active member in AILA’s Chicago Chapter, participating through the Asylum Office Liaison Committee and the AILA Immigration Pro Bono Legal Clinic Committee. She regularly provides Know Your Rights presentations to the community and is always available to newer practitioners as a mentor.
Chicago Legal Responders Network, Chicago Chapter
The Chicago Legal Responders Network, or CLRN, formerly the ORD Lawyers group, is a project that sprung to life in very short order to meet the demand for legal assistance when President Trump implemented his initial travel ban. Since it started, the CLRN has provided legal assistance at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on a daily basis through the efforts of a pool of thousands of organizations and volunteers, ranging from AILA immigration attorneys to individuals who provide food for the volunteers. The group has partnered with CAIR-Chicago for the O’Hare effort in the Travelers Assistance Project (“TAP”).
Jocelyn Jenks, Colorado Chapter
The Colorado Chapter would like to select Jocelyn Jenks as a Chapter Pro Bono Champion. Jocelyn has a busy practice in removal defense and family-based immigration. Jocelyn is dedicated to helping marginalized communities gain political clout and access to the justice system. She has taken on a large volume of pro bono work through the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network this past year and consistently attends and occasionally teaches local CLE courses.
Emily Smith, Colorado Chapter
The Colorado Chapter would like to select Emily Smith as a Chapter Pro Bono Champion. Emily has a busy practice in asylum-based cases. Even so, she has taken on a significant amount of pro bono work through the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network this past year. Emily is active in the Colorado Chapter and constantly strives to improve the quality of immigration legal services in Colorado by consistently attending (and occasionally teaching) local CLE courses.
Douglas Penn, Connecticut Chapter
Douglas Penn was a driving force in organizing Know Your Rights clinics with consultations around the state. He created forms for others to replicate his efforts and has participated in at least three presentations/consults already. He took similar initiative when DACA was announced, working with Connecticut Students for a Dream to set up the first DACA clinic.
Joanna Delfunt, Georgia-Alabama Chapter
The Georgia-Alabama Chapter is proud to nominate Joanna Delfunt for this award. Joanna is an incredible attorney with a heart to help those in need. This year alone, she took on a leadership role with the CHARLA program despite having just started her own solo practice. She teamed up with the city of Atlanta through their Welcoming Atlanta initiative and was able to secure financial and logistical sponsorship with them to start an informational program for women and children who have recently been released from detention.
Willis Miller, Georgia-Alabama Chapter
The Georgia-Alabama Chapter is proud to nominate Will for this award. Will is a dedicated and energetic advocate for his clients at Catholic Charities in Atlanta. Will’s work is a clear example of how to provide quality representation even when a client has limited financial resources. He shares his expertise in asylum law through the Center of Excellence, the Georgia Asylum Immigration Network (GAIN), and the local chapter’s pro bono and asylum committees. He also disseminates requests for representation of detainees at the Stewart Detention Center.
Esperanza Granados, Idaho Chapter
The Idaho Chapter has selected Esperanza Granados as our Pro Bono Champion this year. Esperanza has been an active participant in the Adelante SE Idaho group to respond to concerns of non-citizens after the election. She and others organized a presentation to their local community about immigration issues post-election. She participated in the Twin Falls citizenship day and will lead a citizenship day in Blackfoot in June.
Lacy Panyard, Indiana Chapter
The Indiana Chapter is proud to select Lacy Panyard as their Chapter Pro Bono Champion. Lacy has been volunteering her time to do pro bono intakes for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (NCLC) at John Knox Presbyterian Church for the first and second Thursday of every month since she got her license in October 2013. Before that, as a law student, she was volunteering at NCLC since 2010. This year, she also took time out of her schedule and volunteered to attend the National Day of Action with Maria Baldini-Potermin. In addition to this, from 2016 to date, she has taken on a pro bono DACA, parolee EAD, and a pro bono SIJS. She truly has a great heart for service. She's an asset to our chapter and the field of immigration law in general!
Ann Naffier, IA Justice for Our Neighbors, Iowa/Nebraska Chapter
Ann Naffier is a Managing Attorney with Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors where she has worked since January 2014. Ann has been a dedicated legal services provider and leader for immigrant justice in Iowa for more than 20 years. Prior to becoming an immigration attorney, she worked as a Board of Immigration Appeals Representative for more than 10 years. With her clients, Ann is compassionate, enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable. She has helped expand access to free, high quality immigration legal services throughout the state of Iowa. Over the years, she has volunteered countless evening and weekend hours at free legal clinics, Know Your Rights presentations and community town hall presentations. In addition to her dedication to her clients, Ann has been a volunteer mentor to immigration attorneys across the state of Iowa and beyond. Many Iowa immigration attorneys can say they trained or volunteered under Ann’s direction and still seek out her gracious leadership.
Hiroko Kusuda, MidSouth Chapter
The MidSouth Chapter is happy to select Hiroko Kusuda of the Loyola University, New Orleans College of Law, Immigration Clinic as our Pro Bono Champion. Professor Kusuda is unparalleled in the breadth and depth of her pro bono service in the MidSouth region. Under Professor Kusuda’s direction, law clinic students represent vulnerable immigrants before the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, federal and state courts. The Immigration Clinic represents 161 cases on its own, and through the Children's Rights Clinic, it represents an additional 82 children in Special Immigrant Juvenile proceedings. Recently the Immigration Clinic held Know Your Rights events in detention centers, health clinics, and community centers in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Kara Lynum, Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter
The Minnesota-Dakotas chapter of AILA selects Attorney Kara Lynum as its Pro Bono Champion. Kara traveled once to Artesia and twice to Dilley and also worked remotely on bond issues for detained foreign nationals. Locally, Kara was on the forefront of the chapter’s airport support efforts in the wake of the travel ban executive order. She coordinated the efforts of 400 attorneys and volunteers, worked with families at the airport, and directed the work of off-site habeas teams. In addition, she volunteers with the Park Avenue Clinic, the Volunteer Lawyers Network, and Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM). As if that were not enough, Kara is a mentor for asylum cases with Advocates for Human Rights and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Finally, she is active within AILA, serving on the National New Members Division Steering Committee, the chapter advocacy committee, and the local immigration raid response team. She sets a high bar and is a role model for seasoned and new attorneys alike.
Donald Randles, Nevada Chapter
The Nevada Chapter is pleased to nominate Donald Randles, who is a long-time AILA member. Over the years, he represented clients both low bono and pro bono. In addition, he has always been willing to help his colleagues and mentor them in ethics and the practice of law. His generosity and optimism are an inspiration to us all.
Boston Logan Airport & Litigation Team, New England Chapter
This award goes to the individuals who made up the "Boston Logan Airport & Litigation Team.” AILA New England cannot individually name all the attorneys who dedicated countless hours to obtaining an injunction against the Executive Order instituting a travel ban and monitoring CBP at the Airport. Many attorneys took charge of scheduling the volunteers and helped create a hotline at the Fragomen Law Offices. ACLU and Mintz Levin Attorneys, who are also AILA Attorneys, donated innumerable hours to the litigation efforts. All of these efforts contributed to the positive public opinion, the positive press coverage and the late night victory in Federal Court securing the TRO.
Pair Project, New England Chapter
The Pair Project has been instrumental in scheduling and organizing a system for providing Know Your Rights trainings across New England utilizing the resources of pro bono AILA attorneys. Over 200 KYR trainings have been provided to community groups, churches, mosques, schools, shelters, housing projects, libraries and similar locations. PAIR Project took charge of constantly updating the materials for the KYR presentations. This program is critical in addressing the increased fear in the immigrant community caused by this Administrations’ enforcement rhetoric. Pair Project was asked to assist shortly after the election and never hesitated to help.
Jason Scott Camilo, New Jersey Chapter
With the enactment of the "Travel Ban" as a result of the Presidential Executive Orders, many dedicated attorneys desired to volunteer their services to be available for advising clients with admissions issues at the airport as a result of this ban. While numerous people are to be commended for their efforts and sacrifices of time during this initial period, one individual stands out due to his leadership. There was much confusion and disorganization resulting from the large numbers of volunteers and Jason Scott Camilo took it upon himself to organize the volunteers into teams and shifts to cover virtually all arriving flights into Newark Liberty International Airport. Jason, of course, was there himself and chose to stay in a hotel rather than commute back to his home in Pennsylvania when he would only have to return a few hours later to his NJ office or his shift at the Airport. Jason's efforts resulted in a staff of attorneys being available virtually at all times to render legal assistance.
Carmen Maria Rey, New York City Area Chapter
Carmen Maria Rey is Deputy Director of Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project, whose mission is to increase the pool of legal assistance in the field and to relieve gender violence survivors of these challenges by assisting them to obtain legal immigration status, permanent resident status and citizenship. As well as the work Carmen has done for Sanctuary, outside of her role she has been instrumental in many additional initiatives, both within AILA and outside of AILA. She has been a guiding force in the Advocacy department. She was also one of the founding members of VIAA (Voices In Action in America). The organization seeks to assist and empower women released from the detention centers, in particular with attending court dates, navigating the school system and local transportation. This was inspired by her time volunteering at the family detention center in Dilley, Texas.
Nancy Powell, Northern California Chapter
Nancy Powell is a solo practitioner who has worked collaboratively with East Bay Sanctuary Covenant for over ten years, concentrating on removal defense of indigenous Guatemalans. She volunteered in Artesia and has represented multiple clients through the Mesa Verde Project. The Northern California chapter selected her as one of its two 2017 Pro Bono Champions because of her dedication to representing unaccompanied minors and women and children fleeing gang and domestic violence in Central America.
Natalia Vieira Santanna, Northern California Chapter
Natalia Vieira Santanna is a solo practitioner in Oakland, California, serving primarily asylum seekers in removal proceedings. She has dedicated considerable hours and resources in order to provide full pro bono representation for families and individuals, including asylum seekers detained at the Mesa Verde facility in Bakersfield, CA. Over the past several years, she has travelled to Artesia and to Dilley to represent detained families. She also volunteered in El Paso, Texas, assisting asylum seekers at a migrant shelter. Currently, Natalia is co-leading Know your Rights, legal education and language access efforts focused on the Brazilian community in the Bay Area.
Farhad Sethna, Ohio Chapter
Farhad is a constant presence in the world of pro bono immigration in Ohio. Our nomination focuses on Farhad’s steadfast support of the Family and Juvenile Docket Program at Catholic Charities. In 2014, the plight of UACs and Central American families in removal was a common story in the news. However, within a year, pro bono support for these cases dropped off as other new issues emerged. Organizations like Catholic Charities struggled to place cases with volunteer lawyers. Farhad has always been the first to respond to the call for volunteers needed. He drives an hour from his practice in Akron to be there when many other attorneys who are just a few blocks from the court house do not volunteer. Farhad is a monthly contributor to the statewide Family and Juvenile docket coalition calls, where many individuals are younger practitioners who need advice. Farhad’s experience and guidance is an essential element to supporting the younger practitioners on the call, which allows them to take more cases.
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, Migration & Refugee Services, Immigration Legal Services, Ohio Chapter
Catholic Charities/MRS works to provide access to justice for lesser-served and vulnerable members of the immigrant population and promotes pro bono service among the private bar. Founded in 1945 and located in Cleveland, Ohio, Catholic Charities/MRS helps facilitate assistance state wide, and has actively coordinated legal assistance in response to the surge in the Juvenile and Family dockets. Catholic Charities/MRS has arranged pro bono attorneys, legal interns, and interpreters to be present at all Juvenile and Family dockets.
Julie Braker, Oregon Chapter
Julie has been our chapter co-liaison for advocacy since the summer of 2016 and she has done an amazing job organizing Know Your Rights presentations and community information events. Before becoming our chapter's advocacy liaison, Julie was actively involved in pro bono work and extensive community outreach while at Immigrant Law Group and now with Immigrant Counseling Services. As a non-profit attorney, she provides representation to under-represented vulnerable populations, including asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. She has taken on complex pro bono cases beyond her work-related case load. Julie promotes pro bono work and has done a good job of inspiring others with her commitment of time and resources for community outreach.
Ayodele Gansallo, Fight Against the Travel Ban, Philadelphia Chapter
Ayodele Gansallo of HIAS Pennsylvania, and Joseph C. Hohenstein, Of Counsel with Landau Hess Simon Choi, worked closely together to challenge President Trump's first immigration ban. Both immediately answered the emergency call to action to help a Syria family arriving at Philadelphia airport as the ban went into effect. Together, with a team of other attorneys from the ACLU and AILA Philadelphia chapters, Ayo and Joe represented the family pro bono during their ordeal, which included having their immigrant visas revoked and given the coercive choice of being detained or sent back to Qatar. Due in large part to Ayo and Joe's efforts, the Syrian family's visas were reinstated and they were brought back to the United States to complete their immigration process. Ayo and Joe performed the necessary and important legal work that had to happen to assist this particular family and to pave the way for a more comprehensive challenge to the ban.
Joseph C. Hohenstein, Fight Against the Travel Ban, Philadelphia Chapter
Joseph C. Hohenstein, Of Counsel with Landau Hess Simon Choi, and Ayodele Gansallo of HIAS Pennsylvania, worked closely together to challenge President Trump's first immigration ban. Both immediately answered the emergency call to action to help a Syrian family arriving at Philadelphia airport as the ban went into effect. Together with a team of other attorneys from the ACLU and AILA Philadelphia chapters Ayo and Joe represented the family pro bono during their ordeal, which included having their immigrant visas revoked and given the coercive choice of being detained or sent back to Qatar. Due in large part to Ayo and Joe's efforts, the Syrian family's visas were reinstated and they were brought back to the United States to complete their immigration process. Ayo and Joe performed the necessary and important legal work that had to happen to assist this particular family and to pave the way for a more comprehensive challenge to the ban.
Ashley E. Lively, Pittsburgh Chapter
Ashley E. Lively is an Associate Attorney at JBM Legal, LLC. Ashley is involved in several associations at the County and National level. Ashley provides access to legal services to those with the lowest funds and ability. Ashley actively works with the Persad Center, a local LGBTQ center and has started a “Name Change” partnership that provides legal assistance to community members who wish to have their name changed to reflect their gender identity. Ashley has taken various cases pro bono or reduced fee for adjustment of status of refugees from a local resettlement center to help those in the most need. In response to the increase in Special Immigration Juvenile cases, Ashley works with her colleagues to file various petitions for children who qualify both in family court and with USCIS.
Brittany Young, Catholic Charities West Virginia’s Migration and Refugee Services, Pittsburgh Chapter
Catholic Charities West Virginia’s (CCWVa) Migration and Refugee Services provides immigration legal services to low income immigrants and their families as well as resettles refugees in the state of West Virginia. CCWVa’s immigration attorney is Brittany Young. She is based in Martinsburg, West Virginia and is CCWVa’s only immigration attorney. She serves clients primarily in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. The bulk of Brittany’s work focuses on vulnerable populations including victims of crimes, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied minors. She has developed relationships with local agencies to educate staff and volunteers about the resources available to immigrants, regardless of their status. Brittany also recruits pro bono attorneys to help serve unaccompanied minors seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and she is working to recruit additional attorneys to further expand the capacity CCWVa has to serve clients. In addition to serving clients, Brittany also organizes educational events for the community. Most recently, she organized an Immigration Consultation Workshop to provide free consultations and Know Your Rights information to immigrants. Previously, she conducted other educational events about citizenship and executive orders. A workshop to help immigrant families fill out guardianship and power of attorney forms is currently being planned.
Kerry Doyle, Rome District-EMEA Chapter
Kerry E. Doyle is a partner with the Boston firm of Graves & Doyle. Prior to forming Graves & Doyle with William E. Graves Jr. in August 2001, Ms. Doyle worked in the non-profit sector representing immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Boston, Miami and Hong Kong and taught a seminar on asylum and refugee law at the University of Miami School of Law. She currently is an adjunct faculty member at Suffolk University School of Law. Kerry Doyle has been actively involved with doing pro bono work throughout her career. Most recently, she was involved in filing a complaint in federal court in Boston against President Trump's Travel Ban issued on January 27, 2017. At 9:30 pm on Saturday, January 28, 2017, Ms. Doyle, along with two other AILA members and the Legal Director of ACLU-Massachusetts, was in Federal District Court of Massachusetts, filing and arguing for a Temporary Restraining Order against the travel ban. At 2:30 am on Sunday, Jan. 29th, the court issued a restraining order, staying the impact of the travel ban in Boston, MA. The following week involved close to a hundred hours of work, communicating with the communities and travellers of the seven countries impacted by the ban and with AILA members with impacted clients, helping to coordinate passage into Boston. By the end of the week, travellers began arriving into Logan Airport before any other port of entry in the U.S. It was a great victory. Ms. Doyle continues to work with the original group to monitor the impact of the travel ban and to prepare other litigation against the administration's anti-immigrant agenda. Recently, she and the group have helped AILA attorneys fight the arrests of their clients by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at I-130 visa petition interviews at the CIS office in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Bond motions and a habeas petition were filed and all three individuals who were clients of AILA members were released on bond and none were deported. Previously, Ms. Doyle received recognition of her and the firm’s work on SAYSANA V. GILLEN, 590 F.3D 7 (1ST CIR. 2009) (MASSACHUSETTS BAR REVIEW), which created a new and better law on mandatory detention during immigration deportation proceedings.
Maricela Amezola, San Diego Chapter
The San Diego Chapter selected Maricela as its Chapter Pro Bono Champion because of the abundant pro bono services she provides the San Diego immigrant community. Maricela served as a liaison between the legal community and DHS during the Haitian TPS crisis earlier this year. Maricela is a regular volunteer at the California Western School of Law Community Law Project and a frequent organizer of Know Your Rights programs for the community at large. Maricela went the extra mile, quite literally, in that she took her presentations across the border into Tijuana, Mexico, visiting Haitian refugees being housed at various shelters in order to ensure that they knew what their rights were when they ultimately reached the border and requested asylum. Maricela has also appeared on local news outlets such as the Voice of San Diego and KPBS in order to better educate the public. Most recently, Maricela has been participating in pro bono naturalization workshops for the elderly. Finally, immediately following release of the first Executive Order, Maricela organized the Emergency Preparedness Response Committee for our chapter.
Thomas Schneck, Santa Clara Chapter
“I joined AILA last year because I am so impressed by its pro bono efforts. In my 45 years as a lawyer, I do not think that there is anything like AILA elsewhere in the legal profession. I feel honored to be a member. People ask me when I am going to retire. I value my lawyer license too much to put it down, even though I have 7 children, 18 grandkids and a wife that all need attention. With my lawyer license I can help refugee immigrants on their journeys, thereby making a better country, I hope, for my kids and grandkids. Perhaps because I am an ex-military guy, I believe that when you have a chance to do a rescue operation for people or animals in distress, it is your duty to get out of your comfort zone, get dirty and try to do the rescue operation. That is why I went to Dilley and may go again.”
Tom is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in 1961 and the University of Santa Clara School of Law in 1971. He served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1962-1966. He is an adjunct professor of law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose where he has taught Intellectual Property Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law and Religious Liberty. He was an adjunct professor in 2010 at San Jose State University where he taught Business Law in the College of Business. In addition to his repeated tours at Dilley, he assists service members through with the AILA Military Assistance Program. Most recently, he is trying to expand his pro bono reach by recruiting Santa Clara School of Law students to do pro bono work with the supervision of AILA attorneys. He is a frequent, almost staple, of the joint JFS/AILA pro bono clinic every month.
Nora Phillips, Southern California Chapter
Nora Phillips is a founding partner of Phillips & Urias, LLP. Nora practices trauma-informed lawyering and has trained attorneys on how to effectively interview clients who have survived trauma. Prior to opening her own practice, Nora worked as a Staff Attorney for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) where she focused on U Nonimmigrant Status, VAWA Self-Petitions, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and represented clients in removal proceedings. Nora sits on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Section and, in that capacity, serves as liaison to the Los Angeles Police Department relating to departmental U Visa policy. Nora is also the Legal Director of Al Otro Lado, a non-profit organization she co-founded to assist indigent deportees, refugees, and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico.
Mark Prada, South Florida Chapter
The AILA South Florida Chapter nominates member Mark Prada for the 2017 Chapter Pro Bono Champion Award. Mr. Prada’s work includes both representing low income people in their individual cases, as well as working with numerous nonprofit organizations and unions such as the Florida Immigrant Coalition, SEIU, and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. Mr. Prada assisted a local chapter member by volunteering to draft a petition for rehearing, a motion for a stay of mandate, and a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case involving a man detained at the Federal Detention Center despite his claim to U.S. citizenship. Mr. Prada's work with community-based organizations and unions includes conducting community presentations, supervising and participating in naturalization clinics, consulting with nonprofits about how to run effective clinics, and taking on the individual pro bono cases of people who are members of these organizations.
Faye Kolly, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico Chapter
The Texas Legislature gathered this year in Austin and was met head-on by the AILA Texas Chapter, led by the formidable Faye Kolly. Faye coordinated the bulk of the Texas Chapter's efforts to halt anti-immigrant bills produced by the Texas Legislature. Faye spent incalculable volunteer hours with the Texas Chapter and its partners providing expert testimony, meeting with legislators, and organizing the Chapter's fierce opposition to the anti-immigrant measures, chiefly SB4. While the fight against the implementation of SB4 continues, we are forever grateful to Faye for her indefatigable leadership at the Texas Capitol this year.
Ruby Powers, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico Chapter
Ruby provided countless and selfless hours of volunteer work in her role as advocacy chair for the Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico AILA Chapter. She coordinated a record number of attendees for National Day of Action from the Texas Chapter. She was instrumental in coordinating and providing testimony in regard to SB 4 and was present in Austin to provide testimony. She helped coordinate rapid response teams in the face of the travel ban in Houston. She has written published op-eds and conducted media outreach. Ruby has also participated in podcasts, CLEs, and other trainings to our lawyers and the greater public in regard to current legislation and advocacy in the realm of immigration law.
The Barclay Damon LLP Immigration Team, Upstate New York Chapter
The Upstate NY Chapter’s Pro Bono Committee voted unanimously to recognize the Barclay Damon LLP Immigration Team. Three of their attorneys (Jill A. Apa, Eileen M. Martin, and Mengyi Xu) have all been generous supporters of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Immigration Program for many years. All three are experienced immigration attorneys who are willing to share their expertise. Over the years, Jill Apa has graciously handled eleven immigration pro bono cases (primarily BIA appeals), Eileen Martin has handled eight matters (primarily USCIS cases for domestic violence victims), and Mengyi Xu has handled one matter involving a minor applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The Upstate NY Chapter is very proud of their work as our 2017 Chapter Pro Bono Champions.
Tahmina Watson, Washington Chapter
Tahmina Watson is the founder and owner of Watson Immigration Law. Following the 2016 election Tahmina spearheaded the creation of a dedicated Response Committee where, in her role as Committee Co-Chair, she works directly with elected officials and community partners to facilitate a rapid, uniform, and informed response to policy changes that will affect the immigrant community. Tahmina also played a key role in the creation of “Airport Lawyers”, a free web app that allows community members to securely share information about nationals arriving from Travel Ban countries and help connect them with free legal assistance.
Greg McLawsen, Washington Chapter
Greg McLawsen is the founder and managing member of Sound Immigration. Greg serves as Chair of AILA WA’s Technology Committee and frequently offers mentorship to Chapter members on technological issues. Greg also hosts a popular free web-based training series on a range of immigration topics providing valuable mentorship to AILA members nationwide. The WA Chapter has selected Greg as an award recipient this year in special recognition of his critical role in the creation of “Airport Lawyers”, a free web app that allows community members to securely share information about nationals arriving from Travel Ban countries and help connect them with free legal assistance. This app is now in service at 17 airports across the country.
Ofelia L. Calderón, Washington DC Chapter Ofelia L. Calderón is a founding partner at Calderón Seguin PLC. She led the response to the Executive Action at Dulles Airport, which resulted in volunteer attorneys being sent to the Dulles airport every day to assist foreign nationals being denied entry to the U.S. Ms. Calderon is also on the Advisory Council of Legal Aid Justice Center and past President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia. She contributes her time to the Board of Immigration Appeals Pro Bono Screening Project and has worked closely with numerous local non-profits to provide affordable legal advice to the community at large.
CAIR Coalition, Washington DC Chapter
CAIR Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant men, women, and children at risk of detention and deportation in the DC metropolitan area through direct legal representation, Know Your Rights presentations, impact and advocacy work, and the training of attorneys defending immigrants in the immigration and criminal justice arenas. After the Presidential Election, they organized the DMV Immigration Alliance, which brought together CBOs within DC, Virginia and Maryland to address the new administration’s harsher immigration policies. The DMV Immigration Alliance has organized Consultation Clinics and policy efforts and has shared information and materials, including Know Your Rights presentations and Power of Attorney examples.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17061409.