Last night, Jen Cook and I went to the National Council for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 10th Anniversary event. The evening was themed “Our Moment,” reflecting the organization’s intention to build upon the successes of the gay rights movement in the past year, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Windsor decision, and the many states that have enacted gay marriage. In fact, even as the party went on, the festivities were interrupted to announce that Hawaii became the 16th state to allow for gay marriage.
Last week, we told you about two cases that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard oral arguments on. As we discussed, these cases will go a long way towards setting the law on what constitutes a particular social group for purposes of asylum. One of these cases, Martinez, dealt with the issue of whether a former gang member can be granted protection in the U.S.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court which sets federal law in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, will hear two cases regarding U.S. asylum law. In Temu v. Holder and Martinez v. Holder, the court will consider the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.” The decisions in these cases will determine whether asylum law will be more inclusive or whether the law will shut many deserving applicants out of the protection of asylum.
Throughout the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s two-day conference designed to help paralegals provide more effective assistance to their supervising attorneys, faculty reviewed and discussed the paralegal’s role with regard to key legal and factual issues, as well as the preparation of application forms and supporting documentation. As members of the conference faculty, Dree Collopy and Liana Montecinos presented on asylum and removal case preparation, covering the asylum process, removal proceedings before the U.S.
Benach Collopy is very pleased to announce that Rachael Petterson has joined the firm as an associate attorney. We are very excited that Rachael has chosen to join our team and look forward to her contributions on behalf of our clients for many years to come. Rachael has been a FOBR (Friend of Benach Collopy) since our start in April 2012. A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Rachael jumped right into the practice of immigration by assuming the reigns of the GW Immigration Law Clinic while Professor Alberto Benitez was on sabbatical.
In June 2013, Immigration Briefings, a West publication serving lawyers, published Dree Collopy’s article entitled “I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence: A Practitioner’s Guide for Preserving Family Unity.” (June2013_IB) Intended to help attorneys navigate the new legal landscape of the I-601A provisional waiver, Dree’s article demonstrates Dree’s expertise in hardship waivers and skill in getting the most for her clients. (PS- That’s Dree in the middle, getting an award!) The article identifies the problems that the I-601A provisional waiver was meant to solve and the practical step lawyers should follow to ensure that they prepare a proper application.
On Tuesday, August 20, approximately fifty people gathered at Benach Collopy’s offices in Washington, DC to meet and support a 27 year old candidate for Congress from the 4th District of Iowa. Jim Mowrer, born on a farm in Boone Iowa, and a veteran of our war in Iraq, is challenging the incumbent Steve King for his seat in Congress. Readers of this blog need no introduction to Steve King as he is a leader of the extreme anti-immigrant faction of American politics.
On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will bestow its highest annual honor, the Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law, to our very own Thomas Ragland. AILA is the most comprehensive and significant professional organization of immigration lawyers, comprising more than 11,000 lawyers practicing U.S. immigration law around the globe. For the past 22 years, AILA has awarded the Lowenstein award to the lawyer who has most positively impacted impacted immigration law over the past year.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government. This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration.
On Saturday, June 15, BR team members Benach, Sandra Arboleda, and Mariela Sanchez-Odicio spent the morning at CASA de Maryland in a free legal clinic in anticipation of immigration reform. In these events, we are cast as the experts on immigration law, but I am sure that we learn so much more from greeting the community than we provide in legal advice. CASA de Maryland is an outstanding organization and on the front lines of so many essential civil rights battles.