Earlier this month, Ava Benach received the Fenner Award for Public Service from Whitman Walker Health Legal Services. She got it for doing what she does best– winning cases! The award recognizes the unique relationship that Benach Collopy has formed with Whitman Walker Health. Whitman Walker Health is the premier health care provider serving the LGBT community in Washington DC. Since its founding in the early days of the HIV crisis, WWH has expanded its services to provide more holistic assistance to its community.
Writing in today’s Leadership Blog from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Dree Collopy explains the fundamentals of asylum law the critics, journalists, and politicians fail to understand: Any refusal to recognize gender-motivated violence such as rape and domestic violence as persecution worthy of protection under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees reflects a complete lack of understanding of women’s relationship to the state and their own governments’ failure to provide adequate protection.
Yesterday, several prominent House Democrats called on the administration to end family detention. Organized by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, the Democrats decried the Obama administration’s detention of women and children fleeing violence in Central America. From the creating of a truncated form of due process in refugee protection to a novel interpretation of bond eligibility to conditions which have caused serious illnesses in the children being jailed by the administration, the entire experience of the gulag archipelago of detention centers was designed not to follow the law and protect asylum-seekers, but as a means of deterrence to other potential refugees.
Once a year immigration attorneys from all over the country march to Washington, D.C. to meet with their elected officials and to encourage them to take action toward fixing this country’s broken immigration system. The event is organized by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is appropriately called the National Day of Action. This year, one of the issues we put on the list of things to discuss is family detention.
Artesia. Karnes. Dilley. Before the administration decided it would be a great idea to lock up Central American women and children fleeing from persecution, these towns were unknown. Artesia was the hometown of our government’s rejuvenation of family detention. The makeshift facility, warmly referred to by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) as the Artesia Family Residential Center, was the hub of so many human rights violations that it was ultimately shut down.
Olsi Vrapi is a Friend of Benach Collopy who practices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He recently found himself on the front line of the battle of how to handle the major influx of refugee children at the Southern Border. In this chilling blogpost entitled “The Artesia Experience,” Olsi describes his experience visiting his client in the new facility in Artesia, New Mexico where the government is detaining Central American children and families.
This post was written by Adilene Nunez and Francisco Lopez, law students at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Meeting our client and gaining his trust In the fall of 2013, a man sat in an office at Catholic Charities awaiting our arrival. Neither of us had ever advocated on behalf of a client, so we were both nervous. Although our professors trained us in our clinic about how to interview a client and how to gather the facts and evidence to build a strong case, we were not sure what to expect from our client.
By Ana Sami and Brittni Downs, CUA Immigration Litigation Clinic Students Our work with Joe* started with a bang. Our Immigration Litigation Clinic had just begun when we were assigned his case and told that he had a master calendar hearing scheduled within a few days. With the help of our supervising professors, Dree Collopy and Michelle Mendez, we rushed to prepare for our first court appearance.
By Ana Victoria Perez and Elmer Martin Uribe, Student Attorneys with the CUA Immigration Litigation Clinic “Asylum has been granted. Congratulations.” Those are the magic words that Judge David Crosland uttered on the morning of April 21, 2014. As he said those words, a flood of emotions overcame all of us. Happiness, relief, and excitement were felt throughout the small courtroom where Bill had just been granted asylum, twenty-three years after arriving in the United States.
This post was written by Sydney Barron, a law student at George Washington University Law School and a member of the school’s Immigration Clinic, under the direction of Professor Alberto Benitez. Benach Collopy periodically offers this space to law students and non-profit organizations to discuss their immigration cases. If you are a law school professor or a non-profit organization that wishes to tell the story of one of your immigration cases, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.